2016 has been busy for the American Red Cross which has responded to three times as many large disasters in the first quarter of the year compared to the same time frame in the previous three years.
2016 opened with tornadoes touching down in Texas and flooding in Missouri, along with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Three months into the year, the Red Cross is assisting thousands of families impacted by widespread flooding across Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. More severe weather is predicted over the next several days including heavy rain in areas still recovering from the recent flooding which destroyed more than 9,000 homes.
“As best we can tell as of Thursday night, these storms and floods destroyed or caused major damage to 9,208 homes in these three states,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Imagine how just one family might struggle if their home was destroyed by a massive flood. Now, multiply that by 9,000.”
Through the efforts of more than 5,600 Red Cross disaster workers – most of them volunteers and some that have deployed to multiple disasters – the Red Cross has opened or supported 71 shelters, provided more than 6,100 overnight shelter stays and delivered 390,000 meals and snacks to people impacted by these six large disasters.
More families than ever are depending on the Red Cross for help. So far this year, the Red Cross has opened more than 5,600 cases for families impacted by these large disasters– providing one-on-one assistance to help people on the road to recovery. By comparison, over the last three years the Red Cross opened an average of 1,100 cases in the same time period for larger disasters.
As of March 30, the Red Cross estimates the responses to this year’s large disasters will cost between $11.4 million and $14.2 million. Thus far, we have only raised approximately $3.5 million for these events.
HOW TO HELP Anyone who wants to help people affected by disasters like flooding, tornadoes and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.