Los Angeles, Dec. 4, 2023 – In 2023, the intensifying climate crisis took a devastating toll on people in the U.S. who turned to the American Red Cross for help coping with a record number of billion-dollar disasters.
So far this year, an all-time high of 25 billion-dollar disasters ravaged communities across the country. In addition, families sweltered in the nation’s hottest summer on record, including in communities that rarely experience such extreme temperatures. And back-to-back disasters led to a series of blood drive cancellations, which further strained the national Red Cross blood supply that was already dwindling from summer travel and back-to-school activities. In Los Angeles, we experienced Tropical Storm Hilary, the first tropical storm in Los Angeles in decades, and unprecedented rainfall.
“The climate crisis is causing more humanitarian needs for families in Los Angeles and across the country,” Joanne Nowlin, Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region said. “This holiday season, please remember those who need support in the face of emergencies — and join us to provide care and comfort by making a financial donation or by giving blood or platelets.”
Help during the holidays by visiting redcross.org to make a financial donation or an appointment to give blood or platelets. Individuals can also register for volunteer opportunities in their area.
INCREASING SUPPORT AMID THE CLIMATE CRISIS With the growing frequency and intensity of disasters driven by the climate crisis, the Red Cross is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country. As part of this national work in 2023, the Red Cross distributed $108 million in financial assistance directly to people after disasters of all sizes, and major disasters such as Hurricane Idalia, the Hawaii wildfires and a spate of tornadoes across multiple states.
Across the country, the Red Cross is delivering this vital financial assistance on top of its immediate relief efforts — including safe shelter, nutritious meals and emotional support — which have been provided on a near-constant basis for this year’s relentless extreme disasters. In fact, this year’s onslaught of large disasters drove an increase in emergency lodging provided by the Red Cross with partners — with overnight stays up more than 50% compared to the annual average for the previous five years.
In Los Angeles, Red Cross volunteers have worked 24/7 to provide shelter, food, relief and comfort after home fires and other local disasters – including more than 400 local disaster responses and reaching more than 2,000 Angelenos – to ensure no one faces a crisis of any size alone.
RESPONDING TO ADDITIONAL EMERGING NEEDS Beyond the climate crisis, people stepped up through the Red Cross to address other emerging needs for communities, including:
- BLOOD DONATIONS: As the nation’s largest blood supplier, the Red Cross is grateful for the millions of donors who rolled up a sleeve throughout the year for patients in need. To further improve people’s health outcomes, the Red Cross has been working with community partners to introduce blood donation to a new and more diverse generation of blood donors — which is critical to ensuring that a reliable blood supply is available to the 1 in 7 hospital patients who need a lifesaving blood transfusion.
- LIFESAVING TRAINING: This year, the Red Cross expanded its training to empower people to act during current-day crises — which is vital considering that nearly half of U.S. adults report being unprepared to respond to a medical emergency. This included launching the new “Until Help Arrives” online training course last spring for opioid overdoses, severe bleeding, cardiac arrest and choking emergencies, and partnering with professional sports leagues through the Smart Heart Sports Coalition to help prevent tragedies among student athletes by offering CPR training and increasing access to AEDs.
- MILITARY FAMILIES: Red Cross workers helped service members on U.S. military installations and deployment sites worldwide — including in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. As part of our support this year, Red Cross volunteers delivered emergency communications messages connecting more than 87,000 service members with their loved ones during times of family need, while also engaging members in morale and wellness activities during deployments. Locally, we have conducted more than 3,000 critical community service cases and had nearly 2,000 participants attend our health and wellness program.
- INTERNATIONAL: As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross supported international response efforts to disasters such as this year’s massive earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, the drought and hunger crisis in Africa, and flooding in Pakistan and Bangladesh. This has included providing millions in cash assistance, food, shelter, basic supplies, medical care and mental health services. As devastating conflicts persist in other areas of the world, the global Red Cross Movement continues to provide aid for people suffering, including those in Ukraine and in Israel and Gaza, as part of its neutral, humanitarian mission.
Visit redcross.org/LAholiday for more information about how the Red Cross Los Angeles helped people in Los Angeles in 2023.