Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Red Cross in Action
October 8, 2009
Several disasters have devastated communities in the U.S. and around the world over recent weeks—a reminder that disasters can strike at any time and with any frequency. Even before the disasters hit, American Red Cross staff and volunteers were preparing. Today, here in the States, we are providing people with a safe place to stay, a hot meal and a shoulder to lean on. Overseas, we are supporting our global Red Cross and Red Crescent partners as they work to meet the needs of earthquake, tsunami and typhoon survivors.
Our local, national and international work is made possible by the generous contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations. Their support of our Disaster Relief Fund and International Response Fund enables the American Red Cross to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

Current Disasters in the U.S.
The American Red Cross responds to disasters by providing immediate services like food, shelter and emotional support, in addition to bulk distribution of clean-up supplies, as well as individual casework to help people begin their road to recovery. In 2008 we responded to more than 130 large-scale disasters, providing more than 18 million meals, and opening more than 1,400 shelters—helping people when they need it the most. No matter when or where a hurricane, massive flood, earthquake or any other disaster strikes, the Red Cross is ready to respond immediately.

American Samoa Tsunami - 12 Utah Red Cross Volunteers On the Scene!  
* A powerful 8.0 magnitude Pacific Ocean earthquake spawned significant tsunami waves that swept ashore American Samoa on Sept. 29.
* Some coastal villages on the eastern and northern part of the island are destroyed, affecting thousands of residents.
* FEMA is reporting at least 32 deaths and many missing persons.
* Most of the communities affected are without water and power.
* Widespread damage to infrastructure is estimated to take more than 30 days to repair.
American Red Cross Response:
* More than 80 Red Cross disaster workers are currently on the ground in American Samoa. These disaster workers are trained to organize and help set up a local response, working with the over 100 local volunteers on the ground.
* FEMA and the Red Cross will be partnering to distribute food, water and supplies. More than 5,100 meals and snacks have been served in total. An additional shipment of culturally sensitive food arrived yesterday.
* Safe and Well is activated to facilitate communication between loved ones, hundreds of registrations have been collected so far.

Georgia and Tennessee Floods - 3 Utah Volunteers On the Scene
* Severe storms beginning on Sept. 21 led to flooding in many counties near Atlanta and in the northern part of the state.
* There are numerous power outages, road closures, uninhabitable homes and school district closings.
* Media reports at least nine deaths caused by the flooding.
* Federal disaster declaration issued on Sept 24 for 17 counties: Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Heard, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Stephens and Walker counties.
American Red Cross Response:
* Nearly 250 Red Cross disaster workers continue to operate shelters and provide relief items to emergency workers and affected residents. Simultaneously, the next phase of this operation has begun, including client casework and bulk distribution of clean-up supplies. In total, more than 800 Red Cross disaster workers supported these relief efforts.
* Shelter doors are open to welcome evacuees; as of Oct. 8th, the Red Cross has provided more than 3,700 overnight stays.
* Disaster workers in emergency response vehicles are delivering meals throughout affected communities and in shelters; as of Oct. 8th, the Red Cross has provided more than 109,000 meals and snacks.
* More than 7,800 clean-up and comfort kits were distributed to affected residents.
* As of Oct 8th, we estimate the cost for this relief effort to be $4–$4.4 million.

Current Disasters Overseas
When responding to a disaster overseas, the American Red Cross contributes to relief operations in three ways: deploying trained personnel; sending pre-positioned supplies from warehouses in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Panama; and offering financial assistance. Last fiscal year, the American Red Cross responded to crises in 33 countries, working with our Red Cross and Red Crescent partners around the world to help an estimated five million people.
Southeast Asia Typhoons and Floods
* Typhoon Ketsana hit areas of the Philippines on Sept. 26 with heavy rains and flooding in the capital city of Manila and northern areas of the country. The UN reports 295 deaths and more than 3.9 million people affected.
* Ketsana hit central and northern Vietnam on Sept. 29. The Government of Vietnam reports 170 deaths and approximately 3 million people affected.
* In both countries, Ketsana has created the worst flooding experienced in some areas for more than 40 years.
* Cambodia and Laos have also been affected, with the Lao Red Cross reporting 16 dead and more than 37,000 affected in that country.
* Typhoon Parma also affected the Philippines in the days after Typhoon Ketsana.
American Red Cross Response:
* The American Red Cross has committed $500,000 to meet emergency needs generated by the typhoon in Philippines and Vietnam, and stands ready to provide additional support, should it be requested.
* The American Red Cross continues to monitor the situation and remains in communication with our Red Cross partners in the area.
Pacific Islands Tsunami
* The Sept. 29 earthquake off the shores of American Samoa caused a destructive tsunami wave that struck Samoa and the island of Niuatoputapu in Tonga.
* Reports indicate that the wave that hit in Apia, Samoa was more than 2 feet high.
* Smaller earthquakes continue in the area.
* An early warning message was issued, and Apia was evacuated by police and Red Cross volunteers in advance of the tsunami with people sent to higher ground inland.
* The UN confirms 129 people dead, and a state of disaster has been declared by the Samoan government.
* Samoa Red Cross reports that up to 15,000 people affected.
* The Tongan government declared a state of emergency for Niuatoputapu, with a population of 1,400, and nine confirmed deaths.
American Red Cross Response:
* American Red Cross International Services is providing $100,000 toward the International Federation’s appeal for Samoa.
* The American Red Cross is monitoring the situation and is prepared to mobilize additional support, including relief supplies, trained personnel or financial assistance, if necessary.
West Sumatra Indonesia Earthquakes
* On Sept. 30, just after 5 p.m. local time, an earthquake, measuring 7.6, shook shook the Indonesian island of Sumatra, setting off a destructive chain of events—buildings caught fire, homes collapsed, airports closed, and residents and tourists became trapped.
* A second quake, measuring 6.6 magnitude, struck October 8, but did less damage.
* The two earthquakes combined, left more than 1,100 dead and thousands more trapped. In Padang alone, at least 500 homes have been destroyed.
* Search and rescue efforts continue to recover those buried under the rubble.
American Red Cross Response:
* The American Red Cross has committed at least $500,000 to meet emergency needs created by the earthquakes.
* The American Red Cross is monitoring the situation and remains in communication with our Red Cross partners in the area.
How You Can Help
To Help Nationally, Make a Financial Gift to the Disaster Relief Fund -
Help people affected by disasters like the recent earthquakes and floods, by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food counseling and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting <> .
To Help Internationally, Make a Financial Gift to the International Response Fund – Help the victims of countless crises around the world each year, crises like the flooding and typhoons in Southeast Asia and the earthquakes in Indonesia, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. Donations to the International Response Fund can be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting <> .
To learn more about the work of American Red Cross in the U.S. and around the world, please visit <> .

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