137 Big U.S. Relief Operations in 2011: Red Cross

“The number of lives affected by large disasters in the past year is simply staggering,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services.

The American Red Cross this year launched 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.

“The number of lives affected by large disasters in the past year is simply staggering,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services. “Devastating tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires wiped out entire neighborhoods. Through it all, the Red Cross, our partners, and communities nationwide responded, offering people shelter, food and comfort.”

In the United States, the Red Cross opened 1,019 shelters and provided more than 130,000 overnight stays and 27,622 trained disaster workers served more than 6.7 million meals and snacks.

Many states faced the powerful force of tornadoes in 2011. The Red Cross helped people affected by large-scale tornadoes in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin in 2011.

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

Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused the need for relief operations in more than a dozen states. Thousands of disaster workers were deployed and more than 250 Red Cross feeding trucks were sent into neighborhoods to distribute meals and cleanup supplies. In New York and New Jersey alone, the Red Cross provided almost 34,000 overnight stays in shelters and distributed more than 840,000 meals and snacks.

Wildfires consumed almost four million acres across the state of Texas, and destroyed thousands of acres in New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma. 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.

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