The American Red Cross spent much of 2012 helping people all across the country whose lives were impacted by disasters. Relief efforts were launched in response to 113 large scale disasters in 42 states and territories between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1.
Disasters affected many people’s lives here in Northeast Tennessee according to Lisa Gibbs, director of the American Red Cross Lakeway Area.
“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,” Gibbs said.
According to a national press release issued by the American Red Cross, in the United States, the agency opened 907 shelters and provided more than 109,000 overnight stays to help people forced from their homes by disasters.
In total, more than 29,000 trained disaster workers served 9.9 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 6.8 million relief items. Health and mental health workers provided more than 141,000 consultations to help people on the road to recovery.
Then in late August, Hurricane Isaac came ashore bringing with it strong winds and drenching rain that impacted Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
In response to Isaac, the Red Cross mobilized thousands of disaster workers to help people by opening 157 shelters, providing thousands of overnight stays. Volunteers served hundreds of thousands of meals, distributed more than 140,000 relief items and provided thousands of health and mental health contacts.
In all, eleven states and Puerto Rico felt the impact with New York and New Jersey seeing the most devastation.
The large Red Cross relief effort continues today, weeks after the storm’s landfall.
As of December 1, more than 15,300 trained disaster workers mobilized to provide help. The Red Cross has handed out millions of relief items and meals, provided tens of thousands of health and emotional support contacts to people whose lives have been turned upside down.
In all, severe spring weather affected communities in 16 states, including Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas.
The Red Cross launched responses to provide safe shelter, warm meals and relief supplies to people forced from their homes. Disaster workers served nearly a quarter of a million meals and snacks and handed out more than 112,000 relief items like cleaning supplies and comfort kits.
A string of storms with winds up to 90 miles per hour slammed across Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio and the District of Columbia in June, bringing with them hundreds of reports of impact from severe weather.
The Red Cross provided thousands of overnight stays in more than 70 shelters, served more than 246,000 meals and snacks, and distributed about 128,000 relief items.
Dry conditions fueled devastating wildfires across the western part of the country, forcing evacuations and destroying homes.
In response, the Red Cross launched wildfire relief operations in nine states including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and California.
The Red Cross provided nearly 4,000 overnight stays in shelters, served more than 159,000 meals and snacks, and handed out tens of thousands of relief items to people in need.
Every nine minutes the Red Cross responds to a disaster in communities across the country. Whether the disaster is a hurricane or a fire in someone’s home, the Red Cross is there.
Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee at 501 South Wilcox Dr., Kingsport, TN 37660.
For information about volunteer opportunities locally, call 423-586-2442.