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The Greater Long Beach/Rio Hondo Chapter Responds to 66 Local Disasters in 2013

Long Beach, December 27, 2013 – In a year that had deadly tornadoes, fierce wildfires and destructive floods in many states, the Greater Long Beach/Rio Hondo Chapter responded to 66 local disasters in the region, part of the 146 large disaster relief efforts led by the American Red Cross in 42 states and territories between Jan. 1 and Dec. 20 in 2013.

“This year, the Red Cross continued to serve the people of Los Angeles County through the dedicated work of its staff and volunteers,” said Margaret Arbini Madonna, CEO of The Greater Long Beach/Rio Hondo Chapter. “2013 was a busy year and we are so very thankful for everyone who supported our efforts to help those in need.”

Here at Home

The Greater Long Beach/Rio Hondo Chapter responded to eight separate home fires so far in December alone, two of which occurred the first weekend in December.

In San Pedro a family of three was suddenly displaced when a home fire started in the basement and caused severe damage to the home, rendering it uninhabitable. Red Cross volunteers were there before the fire department left the scene and provided lodging for the family and hope for tomorrow.

Likewise a home fire broke out in Downey. The fire caused major damage to the home leaving a family of 7 homeless with nothing except the clothing on their backs. Providing lodging, food and clothing was the least the Red Cross provided. American Red Cross Volunteers provided this family with a path to recovery.

Behind the Numbers: Mobilizing Responses for Big Disasters

The Red Cross disaster responses across the country in 2013 included:

  • 16,700 workers—many of them volunteers—providing care, comfort and support to those in need.
  • 89,000 contacts by specially trained workers with disaster victims who needed mental health support or health services, which is more people than the amount of travelers who pass through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on an average day.
  • 1.8 million meals and snacks, the equivalent of feeding the entire population of Philadelphia lunch in a day.
  • 29,000 overnight stays in shelters for people forced from their homes by disasters, enough to fill the largest hotel in New York City for more than two weeks.
  • 1 million relief items distributed, including more than 33,700 toothbrushes.
  • $74 million to more than 60 nonprofit partners to help people and communities recover from Superstorm Sandy.
  • Wildfires

    When wildfires threatened communities, the Red Cross offered evacuees a safe place to stay and supported first responders. In total, the Red Cross mobilized more than 2,000 workers to support 10 large wildfire responses in eight states during 2013, such as Colorado, Arizona, California and New Mexico.

    Home Fires

    It’s not just the high-profile disasters that left thousands of people in need this year. The Red Cross also responded to more than 52,000 home fires across America, helping 226,000 people get back on their feet. For those who have suffered a home fire, the event can be just as devastating as the high profile disasters that get a large amount of national attention. Regardless of the size of the event, the Red Cross responds in the same way—with shelter, food and emotional support.

    International Disasters

    In 2013, the American Red Cross assisted an estimated 1.3 million people affected by disasters in 24 countries outside of the U.S. These included storms and floods in the Philippines, Argentina, Bangladesh and Nigeria. Red Cross workers continue to respond to the ongoing humanitarian need created by the civil unrest in Syria, as well as needs caused by conflicts in other areas around the world. The Red Cross responded to food insecurity issues in Malawi and Zimbabwe and continued our earthquake recovery work in Haiti that has been ongoing since 2010. Additionally, the Red Cross continued its vital work in reconnecting families separated by conflict and disaster, reconnecting 886 families this year alone.

    For more on this year’s disasters, view the end-of-year video.

    The work of the American Red Cross is made possible by donations. Donations can be made by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions can also be sent by mail to the Greater Long Beach/Rio Hondo Chapter at 3150 E. 29th Street, Long Beach, CA 90803

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

    American Red Cross Greater Long Beach/Rio Hondo chapters serve the 21 cities of:

    Artesia, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Carson, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, Long Beach, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Paramount, Santa Fe Springs, San Pedro, Signal Hill, Whittier, Wilmington the 2 ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the Island of Catalina.