Red Cross Relief efforts around the County

Press Release

The American Red Cross helped hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were forever changed by disasters in 2011, from tornadoes, floods, wildfires and hurricanes in the U.S. to earthquakes and other disasters around the world.

Throughout the year, the American Red Cross supported the people of Japan and Haiti, while launching 137 domestic disaster relief operations in 46 states and territories to help people affected by fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes across the United States. In addition, major international disasters included the Japan earthquake and tsunami response and the continuing work following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Around the country, during 2011 the Red Cross opened 1,019 shelters and provided more than 130,000 overnight stays. 27,622 trained disaster workers served more than 6.7 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 2.6 million relief items. Health and mental health workers provided more than 133,000 consultations and Red Cross workers opened 16,752 cases to help people get on the road to recovery.

Here in South Central New York, the Red Cross launched relief operations after devastating floods of historic proportions enveloped the region in September. The Red Cross set up emergency shelters throughout the region to house displaced flood victims. They were given a warm, dry place to stay, a bed, hot meals and snacks to eat, as well as medical and mental health services. The Red Cross also provided flood victims with recovery items such as brooms, mops, rakes, dust masks, shovels, ice chests and tarps, so they could begin the process of reclaiming their homes.

For both Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, the Red Cross serviced all flooded areas of South Central New York and Bradford County, PA. Throughout New York State, there were: 110 shelters opened; 13,866 overnight client stays; 542,344 meals and snacks served; 27 Red Cross emergency vehicles deployed; 334,434 clean-up and recovery products distributed; 4,143 Red Cross volunteers and staff; 9,730 Red Cross health services contacts; and 8,703 Red Cross mental health contact.

“This disaster affected so many people’s lives here in Southern New York and Pennsylvania,” said Hugh Quinn, Interim CEO for the Red Cross South Central New York Region. “Red Cross workers from both here at home and across the country worked tirelessly to make sure people had a safe place to stay, food to eat, and help getting their lives back on track. At the height of the flooding, our regional Red Cross was sheltering over 2000 people who had to flee their homes.”

In addition to our region, a large part of the country – almost 20 states – was impacted by flooding in 2011. The Red Cross launched 27 relief operations related to flooding in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont and New York.

Thousands of disaster workers were deployed and more than 250 Red Cross feeding trucks were sent into neighborhoods to distribute meals and clean-up supplies. In New York and New Jersey alone, the Red Cross provided a total of almost 34,000 overnight stays in shelters and distributed more than 840,000 meals and snacks.

On the other end of the spectrum, wildfires consumed almost four million acres across the state of Texas, and destroyed thousands of acres in New Mexico, Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma. Again, the Red Cross stepped in to help in the fire-ravaged neighborhoods, providing a safe place to stay, food to eat and emotional support for those forced to leave their homes, as well as firefighters and first responders.

Japan earthquake, tsunami changed people’s lives forever

In March, a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan, claiming more than 15,000 lives, as well as damaging and destroying buildings, roads and nuclear power plants. Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless and lives were changed forever.

The Japanese Red Cross responded immediately, distributing food, emergency kits, blankets and supplies. Their medical teams provided health services, while other volunteers provided emotional support and social assistance.  More than 80,000 volunteers assisted in operating shelters, helped with clean-up efforts and provided care for the elderly.

Through the generosity of the American people and their donations, the American Red Cross continues to support recovery efforts through the Japanese Red Cross. These include living conditions in evacuation centers and temporary homes by providing appliance packages for families and winterizing structures against the cold. American Red Cross funds are also supporting the Japanese Red Cross in building a temporary hospital and rebuilding a Red Cross nursing school dedicated to training specialists in disaster medical care. Additional American Red Cross support will improve the disaster response capacity of the Japanese Red Cross.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to assist people affected by disasters. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.