2020 is a year we won’t forget any time soon. Millions of people across the country have been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic while at the same time hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by record-setting wildfires in the west and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast.
The American Red Cross continues to help people affected by these disasters, Red Cross disaster workers supporting thousands of people in need. Over the past several months, the Red Cross has:
- Provided more than 1.2 million overnight stays in emergency lodgings across multiple states all over the country
- With partners, served more than 2.9 million meals and snacks
- Distributed 343,900 relief items with the help of partners
- Provided 117,800 individual care contacts to help people with medical or disability needs or provide emotional and spiritual support during these challenging times
- Provided 11,800 households with emergency financial assistance to help them replace essential items and begin to recover
More relief supplies — including ready-to-eat meals, cots, blankets, cleanup kits, hygiene items and personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer — stand ready if we need them.
We are also helping people impacted by smaller disasters like home fires every day.
HURRICANE RESPONSE As Hurricane Eta heads toward Central America as a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds, experts report there is a possibility Eta could hit the Gulf Coast next week. The Red Cross is monitoring the storm and will respond if needed. Eta is the 28th named storm and 12th hurricane of this Atlantic hurricane season.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers continue to help people struggling to recover from the earlier Hurricanes Laura, Sally and Delta. More than 3,100 people remain in emergency lodging from these storms and in all more than 808,400 overnight stays have been provided. The Red Cross and partners have served two million meals and snacks and distributed more than 287,400 relief items. Red Cross disaster workers have also made more than 60,900 individual care contacts to help people with medical or disability needs or provide emotional and spiritual support during these challenging times. The Red Cross has also provided 8,760 households with emergency financial assistance to help them replace essential items and begin to recover after hurricanes
WILDFIRE RESPONSE More than 2,100 people out west remain in emergency lodging, forced from their homes by the record-setting wildfires which have destroyed thousands of homes and other buildings. The Red Cross and partners have provided more than 401,100 total overnight stays in emergency lodgings, served more than 901,900 meals and snacks, distributed 56,500 relief items and provided more than 57,000 individual care contacts. The Red Cross has also provided 3,070 households with emergency financial assistance to help them replace essential items and begin to recover.
COVID-19 has not changed the Red Cross mission, and we are still providing the same types of support as we have previously. To help keep people safe, we are following guidance from CDC and public health authorities — and have put in place additional precautions. Some of these steps include social distancing protocols, face coverings, health screenings and enhanced cleaning methods.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has only compounded the devastation wrought by these disasters. More than 9.2 million people in the United States have now been infected with the coronavirus and at least 230,900 have died as case numbers reaching alarming new records across the country.
Responding to disasters is a team effort and no single organization can do it alone. This is particularly true in this current coronavirus environment.
YOU CAN HELP by making a donation, giving blood, or by becoming a Red Cross volunteer.
Our ability to be there for emergencies is dependent on the generosity of donors. Please support Disaster Relief now by visiting redcross.org, calling 800-RED-CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
- To help people impacted by Hurricane Zeta, write “Hurricane Zeta” in the memo line of a check and mail to your local Red Cross chapter with the completed donation form.
- To help people impacted by the Western Wildfires, visit redcross.org, call 800-RED CROSS or text the word WILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
With the number of ongoing disasters and the complexities of COVID-19, more help is needed now. Become a Red Cross volunteer today. Review our most urgently needed volunteer positions at redcross.org/volunteertoday.
This fall, wildfires and hurricanes have added new hurdles in collecting lifesaving blood donations and compounded ongoing challenges to maintaining a sufficient blood supply during COVID-19. Unfortunately, these disasters are not over. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. And those needs do not diminish during disasters or pandemics. To help restock hospital shelves, the Red Cross urges eligible individuals in parts of the country unaffected by these disasters to give blood, platelets or plasma for patients in need of transfusions. Please schedule an appointment to donate by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 800-RED-CROSS.