Red Cross responds to nearly twice as many large disasters in U.S. as a decade ago
PROVIDENCE, RI (August 28, 2023) — During National Preparedness Month in September, the American Red Cross in Rhode Island urges everyone to prepare for worsening climate disasters affecting the Northeast, which has experienced recent wildfires in Rhode Island, catastrophic flooding in Vermont, and intensifying hurricanes like Isaias and Ida along the coast.
Severe weather like this is part of a worsening national trend in which the American Red Cross has responded to nearly twice as many large disasters across the country as it did a decade ago.
As rapidly intensifying, weather-related events pose serious challenges to its humanitarian work and the people it serves, the Red Cross has announced an ambitious national plan to take urgent action. With more climate-driven disasters upending lives and devastating communities, the organization is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country, while also funding new international programs on climate response and preparedness, as well as minimizing its own environmental footprint.
Here in Rhode Island, this includes developing community readiness plans, as well as recruiting and training more volunteers to respond to disasters locally and across the country.
“As the frequency and intensity of disasters grow, more people need help more often,” said Susan Roberts, Executive Director, Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter. “Yet as fast as our volunteers are working to help, the needs are escalating faster. That’s why it’s critical to not only prepare yourself for risks like hurricanes in our community, but to also help families in need — both locally and in other parts of the country. Join us by becoming a volunteer or making a financial donation to support our disaster relief efforts.”
For National Preparedness Month, take three lifesaving actions — get a kit, make a plan and be informed — to help protect yourself against local emergencies. Follow safety tips now at redcross.org/prepare. You can also deliver relief and care to families facing climate disasters by becoming a Red Cross volunteer at redcross.org/VolunteerToday.
MOUNTING U.S. DISASTER RESPONSES In the first half of 2023 alone, the nation experienced a record 15 billion-dollar disasters, including catastrophic atmospheric rivers in California and deadly tornadoes in the South and Midwest. The Red Cross has also responded to the deadliest wildfires of the last century in Hawaii, a powerful typhoon in the U.S. territory of Guam, and 1-in-100-year flooding in the Northeast.
That’s all on top of extreme heat in Rhode Island and other communities — which have made July the country’s hottest single month on record. What’s more, U.S. is just now entering its typical peak time for hurricanes, with 2023 forecast to be the eighth consecutive above-normal hurricane season.
ADAPTING TO THE CLIMATE CRISIS As extreme weather disasters increase, more people need help from the Red Cross in the U.S. Nationwide, the organization is taking bold and thoughtful actions to adapt its services and grow its capacity by:
· Enhancing large-scale disaster response services by bolstering the aid provided in emergency shelters and extending casework support to help people with the most recovery needs.
· Expanding financial assistance to help more families with unmet needs and bridge the gap between immediate disaster relief and long-term recovery assistance.
· Strengthening local partner networks in targeted areas that face a high risk of extreme weather and existing societal inequities with a focus on increased access to health and mental health services, nutritious food and safe housing for local families.
· Growing its disaster workforce — comprised of 90% trained volunteers — to deepen its disaster readiness. This includes fortifying the critical infrastructure and technology that enables 24/7 response to disasters across the country.
SUPPORT OUR DISASTER RELIEF WORK Help people affected by disasters big and small, including climate-driven crises, by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters in the U.S. Visitor call 1-800-RED CROSS.
DOWNLOAD RED CROSS EMERGENCY APP Download the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and safety steps for different emergencies. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. Find all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.