TAMPA, Fla. Dec. 10, 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, California.
In Central Florida, 200 disaster workers deployed outside the region on nearly 300 individual assignments to help people affected by large crises across the country. This included relief operations for hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, volcanic eruption, a typhoon and mass casualty events.
"For the second year in a row, the Red Cross has been called on to deliver critical services to impacted communities from coast to coast, Hawaii and the Northern Marianas. In fact, we are still operating shelters in several of these communities, because the need is still there,” said Jennifer Pipa, CEO of the American Red Cross of Central Florida. “I am thankful for the power of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors that make this critical mission delivery possible every day, here at home and across the United States.”
LARGE DISASTER RESPONSES IN 2018 In the face of large crises this year, the Red Cross mobilized more than 14,000 disaster workers -- 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.
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.
In Central Florida, the Red Cross has responded to 1,140 local disasters year-to-date, assisting more than 3,000 families. Of these emergencies, 94 percent were home fires.
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.
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.
WITH APPRECIATION Generous donations from Florida businesses and organizations enable the American Red Cross of Central Florida to respond when disasters occur and help families during the recovery process. With tremendous gratitude, we acknowledge our Ready 365 Giving Program members who helped meet this year’s extraordinary needs: Brown & Brown Insurance, Circle K, Publix, the Glazer Family and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Vinik Family Foundation and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Darden Restaurants, Kforce, Raymond James, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, Hilton Grand Vacations, Mosaic, Red Lobster, Rooms to Go, Bealls, Domain Homes, First Watch, Mattress One, Space Coast Credit Union, Tampa Yankees Foundation, The Joe and Sarah Galloway Foundation, The Spurlino Family Foundation, Amscot, Florida’s Natural, Home Shopping Network, iQor, Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation Inc. and The Mabel & Ellsworth Simmons Charitable Foundation, Inc.
The Central Florida Region of the American Red Cross serves 19 counties through five chapters: Florida’s Space Coast (Daytona Beach), Greater Orlando, Mid-Florida (Winter Haven), Southwest Florida (Sarasota) and Tampa Bay. For more information, visit redcross.org/centralflorida. Also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
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, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.