For Second Year, Millions Turn to American Red Cross for Help after Record Wildfires, Hurricanes and Devastating Weather


WASHINGTON,  /PRNewswire/ -- 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.

"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."

As the year comes to a close, the Red Cross continues to help those affected by major disasters. In just the past week, we've responded to the earthquake and ongoing aftershocks in Alaska, while also helping people recover from this fall's wildfires in California, Hurricanes Michael and Florence on the East Coast, and Typhoon Yutu on the Mariana Islands.

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

In addition, 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.

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.

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. 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. In 2018, we:

  • Installed nearly 400,000 smoke alarms
  • Reached more than 219,000 youth through preparedness programs
  • Made more than 165,000 homes safer through home fire safety visits

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 or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.

ADGP $1 Million members are: Adelson Family Foundation; American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Brown & Brown Insurance; Caterpillar Foundation; The Clorox Company; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; State Farm; Verizon; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Walt Disney Company.

ADGP $500,000 members are: 21st Century Fox; Altria Group; AmazonSmile; American Express; Aon; BMW of North America; Capital One; CBS Corporation; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Foundation; Discover; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company; General Motors; Humble Bundle; IBM Corporation; International Paper; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; Medtronic Foundation; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; New Balance Foundation; Nissan; Procter & Gamble Company; PwC Charitable Foundation; Southwest Airlines; Target; Tata Consultancy Services; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; UPS; The USAA Foundation; The Wawa Foundation; and Wells Fargo.

Disaster Responder Program members are: 7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; AdvoCare International L.P.; Alliance Data; Assurant; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; AXA Equitable Life; The Ball Foundation; Barclays; Boise Paper; CarMax; Choice Hotels International; Cox Automotive; DICK'S Sporting Goods; Duke Energy; Edison International; Entergy Corporation; Farmers Insurance; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; HSBC Bank; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; The J.M. Smucker Company; Land O'Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Financial; Raytheon Company; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Foundation; Ryder; SC Johnson; Security Finance's Lending Hand Foundation; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Standard Textile; The Starbucks Foundation; Stearns Bank; Toyota; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.

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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


American Red Cross. (PRNewsfoto/American Red Cross)

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