LOS ANGELES, December 27, 2018 — In a second consecutive year of record-breaking disasters, millions of people from coast to coast turned to the American Red Cross for shelter, food and comfort.
This year, massive wildfires scorched more than 8.5 million acres—in California alone, residents have suffered back-to-back years of the most destructive wildfires in state history, with the Camp Fire being the most severe. What’s more, six major hurricanes impacted the United States in just three months, devastating communities across nine states and U.S. territories. Red Cross volunteers also provided crisis counseling and other support to communities affected by six tragic shootings, including those in Parkland, Florida; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Thousand Oaks.
“When large disasters upended lives this year, Red Cross volunteers from our community answered the call to help—all while continuing to provide relief and comfort for neighbors devastated by home fires and other emergencies each day,” said Jarrett Barrios, CEO of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster in the U.S., and generous support ensures that we’re there to help people get back on their feet, no matter the size of the crisis.”
LARGE DISASTER RESPONSES IN 2018 In the face of large crises this year, the Red Cross mobilized more than 14,000 disaster workers, including nearly 250 from Los Angeles Region —90 percent volunteers—who helped people across the country:
- Served more than 8.2 million meals and snacks with partners
- Distributed more than 2.2 million relief items
- Provided more than 290,000 overnight shelter stays with partners
- Made more than 188,000 health and mental health contacts to provide support and care
Nationwide, we also provided recovery support for tens of thousands of households rebuilding their lives—whether it was connecting them with community resources, helping them create recovery plans or providing financial assistance for those severely affected.
WOOLSEY FIRE DISASTER RESPONSE IN 2018 Here in Southern California, more than 700 Red Cross volunteers worked tirelessly to help neighbors devastated by the Woolsey and Hill fires, which scorched more than 96,000 acres, destroying 1,500 homes. With local community partners, the Red Cross was able to provide:
- More than 3,000 overnight shelter stays
- More than 20,000 meals and snacks
- More than 15,000 relief items
- More than 4,000 health and mental health services
Red Cross caseworkers continue to connect one-on-one with people impacted by these wildfires, help them create recovery plans and—for the most severely impacted residents—obtain financial assistance. The Red Cross has opened hundreds of cases for those who need extra recovery help.
HOME FIRES THE MOST FREQUENT DISASTER Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster, accounting for the vast majority of disasters that the Red Cross responds to in the U.S. This year, the Red Cross has provided recovery support for more than 73,000 households affected by home fires across the country. Locally, we’ve responded to over 330 home fires in Los Angeles Region this year.
Our work continues today, as families face increased fire risks from heating equipment, decorations and cooking during the holidays and winter months. That’s why we’re working to keep people safe through our Home Fire Campaign, which has reached more than 1.6 million people and saved at least 474 lives nationwide since it launched in October 2014.
With generous support and local partners, Red Cross volunteers go door-to-door to install free smoke alarms and help families create home fire escape plans. In 2018, the Red Cross of Los Angeles:
- Installed more than 10,400 smoke alarms
- Reached more than 8,600 youth through preparedness programs
- Made more than 3,350 homes safer through home fire safety visits
RECONNECTING LOVED ONES AFTER CRISES In 2018, the American Red Cross helped reconnect more than 12,000 loved ones after being separated by disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide. Following disasters in the U.S., we helped reconnect more than 3,000 people. Internationally, the American Red Cross also helped reconnect nearly 9,200 family members who were separated by international conflict, disaster or migration.
HELPING AROUND THE WORLD As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross aided people impacted by disasters and humanitarian crises all over the world in 2018. This year, the American Red Cross responded to 20 disasters around the globe—from a tsunami in Indonesia to a volcano in Guatemala. We deployed emergency responders to disaster zones in seven countries and sent humanitarian aid to more than 18 countries, including cash assistance, lifesaving supplies and trained disaster responders.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Help people affected by disasters like wildfires, storms 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. Please consider making a donation today. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information about the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region, visit redcross.org/la or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA or @CruzRojaLA.