Nearly 180 disaster workers from the Iowa Region answered the call to help and responded nationwide
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.
179 disaster workers from the Iowa Region helped people affected by large crises across the country. They donated their time and talent to help people affected by Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael, Super Typhoon Yutu, Tornadoes in Iowa and the California Wildfires.
“For a second year in a row, American Red Cross volunteers worked tirelessly to deliver care and hope for people whose lives were torn apart by record disasters,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responded to these and other crises of all sizes across the country—including home fires, which devastate families each and every day.”
Learn more about our 2018 disaster work in this video and infographic.
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:
- 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.
Here in the Iowa Region, Red Cross volunteers worked tirelessly to help neighbors devastated by local disasters, including the tornadoes that ripped through Marshalltown and Bondurant, historic flooding across the region and hundreds of home fires.
HOME FIRES 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.
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. Since the program was implemented in 2014, the Iowa Region has:
- Installed nearly 12,500 smoke alarms
- Reached more than 2,680 youth through preparedness programs
- Made more than 4,870 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 like Diane Papedo and her brother, who was displaced from his home by wildfires in California. Diane had worried about her brother’s fate until she learned he was at a Red Cross shelter. Reuniting with him there, she immediately felt a sense of relief. “I saw him right away, it’s a miracle,” Diane said. Read more about how the Red Cross helped reconnect loved ones during the California wildfires.
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 or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).