The American Red Cross is preparing some of the region’s most disaster-prone communities for future emergencies. Alongside local Red Cross partners, we train people in first aid, disaster preparedness, emergency response, and shelter management. We help neighborhoods to recognize their specific vulnerabilities and devise plans to reduce risks.
We have worked with communities to establish early warning systems using sirens, megaphones, and even firecrackers, dig drainage ditches to reduce flooding and standing water, map evacuation routes, and a spectrum of other activities.
The American Red Cross partnered with the Chilean Red Cross following the devastating 2010 Chile earthquake to build local disaster response capacity in the country. The 2010 Chile earthquake—which measured 8.8 on the Richter scale and triggered a tsunami—caused massive devastation, directly impacting more than 1.8 million people and leaving over 500 people dead. In response, the American Red Cross and the Chilean Red Cross are working with communities impacted by the earthquake to teach first aid, create community-based disaster response teams and promote preparedness education.
In collaboration with the Global Disaster Preparedness Center and local Red Cross partners, we’re launching first aid apps to deliver lifesaving information directly to people’s mobile phones in South America. The app provides simple advice on everyday first aid scenarios. It also provides steps and checklists to help people prepare and respond to emergencies like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, which can be accessed without a mobile connection.
Resilience is the ability to respond and adapt to changing circumstances. Resilient communities, then, are ones that can react to and rebuild from disasters and emergencies quickly.
Our programs in South America reduce neighborhoods’ vulnerabilities and increase their ability to remain healthy, connected and organized. We emphasize proactive community engagement and embrace communities’ roles as conveners, resource brokers and catalysts.
Through this initiative, people assess, analyze and map the most significant, locally-prevalent hazards that put their neighborhoods at risk. Then, we help them to create strategies and action plans that reduce those risks. Recent projects include: providing educational outreach to improve health and hygiene, retrofitting shelters, and installing drainage systems to reduce standing water. In South America, we are implementing resilience initiatives in Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.