Editor’s Note: A video summary of 2016 Red Cross disaster response efforts are also available.
WASHINGTON, December 15, 2016 — In a year that set new records for severe and devastating weather, the American Red Cross provided more assistance to the hundreds of thousands of people impacted by these disasters across the United States than in the past two years combined.
In 2016, Red Cross volunteers responded to 180 significant disasters in 45 states and two U.S. territories including wildfires, storms, flooding, Hurricane Matthew and other emergencies. More than 32,000 Red Crossers opened nearly 800 emergency shelters providing 206,000 overnight stays, served more than 4.1 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 2.1 million relief items this year (as of December 4).
“When a disaster strikes, the Red Cross is there, helping people during what are usually their darkest days. This year, we were there with them time and time again, providing food, a safe place to stay and help getting back on their feet as quickly as possible,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of disaster operations and logistics for the Red Cross. “But today, we need your support to continue providing help to families affected by disasters as we enter 2017.”
Disasters Devastated Communities Across U.S. in 2016
In just the first three months of 2016, the country faced tornadoes in Texas, historic flooding in Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, along with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The Red Cross was there for each one, with Red Cross disaster workers providing shelter, food and comfort to people impacted.
In mid-April, nearly two feet of rain brought devastating flooding to the greater Houston metro area, and again the Red Cross provided shelter, meals and a shoulder to lean on as residents were forced from their homes. Around Memorial Day in May, historic and devastating flooding again hit Texas. Red Cross disaster workers were mobilized to help.
June saw fast-moving wildfires in California and historic flooding in West Virginia, which destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands of residents to evacuate. Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers deployed to lend a hand.
Historic flooding in Louisiana in August devastated tens of thousands of lives. At the peak of the floods, more than 10,000 people were staying in more than 50 shelters. Red Cross disaster workers from all across the country came to the state to help.
In September, significant flooding occurred in Iowa, including Cedar Rapids, and once again people were forced to evacuate. Red Cross workers opened shelters and provided meals and relief supplies.
Most recently in October, Hurricane Matthew slammed into Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, damaging tens of thousands of homes and causing devastating flooding. And in late November, raging wildfires forced thousands of people in and around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, from their homes. Again, Red Cross disaster workers opened dozens of shelters and provided meals and comfort.
Home Fires Continued to be Largest U.S. Disaster Threat
Amidst all of these devastating events, home fires continued to be the largest disaster threat in the United States. During 2016, the Red Cross provided casework assistance to help 79,000 families recover after a home fire left them with nowhere else to turn. The Red Cross and thousands of local partners are also working to help prevent home fires, deaths and injuries. Since 2014, at least 116 lives have been saved through the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, a total of 574,000 smoke alarms have been installed, and 625,000 youth have been taught about fire safety.
World’s Largest Humanitarian Network Responds to Global Disasters
Before Hurricane Matthew hit the United States, the storm made landfall in Haiti, leaving widespread flooding, damage to infrastructure and major crop and livestock loss. The American Red Cross delivered critical relief, including supplies to reduce the increased threat of cholera in the country.
A massive wildfire in Alberta, Canada threatened dozens of communities in the spring. All 70,000 Fort McMurray residents were forced to leave their homes. The American Red Cross deployed almost 100 employees and volunteers to help.
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador in April, limiting access to remote communities and causing severe damage to the country’s infrastructure. Red Cross societies from all over the world stepped in to help, offering aid to assist people in the South American country.
2016 has been the deadliest year for refugees in the Mediterranean Sea, with more than 4,000 people dead as they try to cross from Libya to Europe. The American Red Cross has contributed funds to help meet the needs of refugees and migrants seeking safety and a better life in Europe, including the deployment of a disaster specialist aboard a rescue vessel in the Mediterranean Sea.
HOW TO HELP Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Boise Paper; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; The Home Depot Foundation; Humble Bundle; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Merck Foundation; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP℠ Vision care for life; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Wawa Foundation.
ADGP $500,000 members are: 3M; Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Bank of America; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Grainger; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; McDonald’s Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Mondelēz International Foundation; National Grid; PepsiCo Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Sprint; Sunoco; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; United Technologies Corporation; Visa; and Wells Fargo.
Disaster Responder Program members are: Alcoa; Almost Family; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; Ball Foundation; BNY Mellon; CarMax; The Clorox Company; Cox Automotive; DTE Energy Foundation; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; General Motors Foundation; Harbor Freight Tools; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; Hi-Rez Studios; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; IHG Foundation; IKEA; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; Interstate All Battery Center; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; MetLife Foundation; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; New Balance Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; PuroClean Disaster Recovery; Red Heart Yarns; SC Johnson; ScriptRelief; Sealed Air; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; T O Y O T A; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and U-Haul International.
About our Corporate Holiday Supporters
During this holiday season, the American Red Cross is grateful for those corporate donors that generously contribute to our Holiday Giving Campaign. They include Circle K West Coast and Florida Divisions and Mazda and its Dealers. Thanks to the generosity of these and other supporters, the Red Cross is able to bring help and hope to people across the country. To learn more about our corporate holiday supporters, visit redcross.org/corporate-holiday-supporters.