Disaster Services

When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides onsite and follow-up assistance, helping clients with a place to stay, health and mental health services, food, emotional support, comfort items and cleanup kits.

Each year, the American Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters, including house or apartment fires (the majority of disaster responses), hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hazardous material spills, transportation accidents, explosions and other natural or man-made disasters.

The good news is that we can help!

Although the American Red Cross is not a government agency, its authority to provide disaster relief was formalized when, in 1905, the Red Cross was chartered by Congress to “carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the suffering caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same.” The Charter is not only a grant of power, but also an imposition of duties and obligations to the nation, to disaster victims, and to the people who generously support its work with their donations.

Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people’s immediate emergency disaster-caused needs. When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services and more to address basic human needs. In addition to these services, the core of Red Cross disaster relief is the assistance given to individuals and families affected by disaster to enable them to resume their normal daily activities independently.

The Red Cross also feeds emergency workers, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, provides blood and blood products to disaster victims, and helps those affected by disaster to access other available resources.

If you are in need of disaster related assistance, please visit our Disaster Assistance Get Help page.