Contact: Martin Gagliano
Telephone: (669) 209-5266
Red Cross responds to nearly twice as many large disasters in U.S. as a decade ago; Northern California Coastal Region at risk for wildfires and flooding.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA. AUGUST 28, 2023 — During National Preparedness Month in September, the Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region urges everyone to prepare for worsening climate-driven disasters affecting our communities, which our region experienced in January 2023 with catastrophic atmospheric rivers in California.
Severe weather like this is part of a worsening national trend in which the American Red Cross has responded to nearly twice as many large disasters across the country as it did a decade ago.
As rapidly intensifying, weather-related events pose serious challenges to its humanitarian work and the people it serves, the Red Cross has announced an ambitious national plan to take urgent action. With more climate-driven disasters upending lives and devastating communities, the organization is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country, while also funding new international programs on climate response and preparedness, as well as minimizing its own environmental footprint.
Here in the Northern California Coastal Region, this includes recruiting and training more volunteers to respond to disasters locally and across the country.
“As the frequency and intensity of disasters associated with extreme weather grow, more people need help more often,” said Hanna Malak, Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region CEO. “Yet as fast as our volunteers are working to help, the needs are escalating faster. That’s why it’s critical to not only prepare yourself for risks like wildfires in our community but to also help families in need — both locally and in other parts of the country. Join us by becoming a volunteer or making a financial donation to support our disaster relief efforts.”
For National Preparedness Month, take three lifesaving actions — get a kit, make a plan and be informed — to help protect yourself against local emergencies. Follow safety tips now at redcross.org/prepare. You can also deliver relief and care to families affected by climate-driven disasters by becoming a Red Cross volunteer at redcross.org/VolunteerToday.
MOUNTING U.S. DISASTER RESPONSES In the first half of 2023 alone, the nation experienced an above-average 15 billion-dollar disasters, including the catastrophic atmospheric rivers and flooding throughout California in January 2023. That’s all on top of extreme heat in other communities — which have made July the country’s hottest single month on record.
ADAPTING TO THE CLIMATE CRISIS As extreme weather disasters increase, more people need help from the Red Cross in the U.S. Nationwide, the organization is taking bold and thoughtful actions to adapt its services and grow its capacity by:
- Enhancing large-scale disaster response services by bolstering the aid provided in emergency shelters and extending casework support to help people with the most recovery needs.
- Expanding financial assistance to help more families with unmet needs and bridge the gap between immediate disaster relief and long-term recovery assistance.
- Growing its disaster workforce — comprised of 90% trained volunteers — to deepen its disaster readiness. This includes fortifying the critical infrastructure and technology that enables 24/7 response to disasters across the country.
SUPPORT OUR DISASTER RELIEF WORK Help people affected by disasters big and small, including climate-driven crises, by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters in the U.S. Visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER IMPACTS TO THE NATIONAL BLOOD SUPPLY The Red Cross has seen a significant shortfall in blood and platelet donations over the last month, making it hard to keep pace with the need for blood products. Blood and platelet donations that go uncollected due to climate-related events, such as hurricanes, wildfires and extreme heat, can put further strain on the national blood supply. As extreme weather events are worsening, the Red Cross is seeing that translate into more blood drive cancellations. In 2022, over 1,300 blood drives were canceled due to weather — about 23% higher than the average of the prior nine years.
In thanks for helping ensure the nation’s blood supply is prepared for all emergencies, from disasters to medical emergencies, all who come to give blood, platelets or plasma Sept. 1-18 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. Those who come to give throughout September will also receive a coupon for a free haircut by email, thanks to Sport Clips Haircuts. Details are available at rcblood.org/racetogive. Donors can schedule an appointment to donate using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). If you are unable to give blood you can volunteer to support blood collections. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to learn more.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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