The Red Cross

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The global effects of recent natural disasters cannot be understated. The reality is that while the government’s official death toll only attributes 20 deaths in Puerto Rico directly to Hurricane Maria, according to this New York Times article, it cannot be denied that each disaster sets off a snowball of fatal effects. Though the destruction is overwhelming, each disaster brings an influx of aid from organizations all around.

The American Red Cross was established in 1881, so it’s no surprise that they operate with excellence. The organization boasts of being present, “all day, every day, wherever someone needs us.” Though easily said, this statement is affirmed through the countless lives saved, relief teams deployed, and aid given. Since the creation of the organization, there have been additional offices and teams set up around the world. Nationally, according to their website, they respond to nearly 64,000 cases annually. Interestingly enough, the Red Cross has found that home fires are by and large the biggest disaster threat to American families. They are committed to learning more about their causes, educating Americans, and reducing preventable deaths precipitated by fires. Learn more about their campaign to end home fires here.

Though the devastation brought by Hurricane Irma has made it difficult to deploy provisions, the Red Cross has promised $100,000 to assist in meeting the immediate needs of the affected people in the Caribbean. Committed to international aid as well as domestic, there were three response specialists deployed to Dominica as part of the international response to support the Dominica Red Cross. In addition to food, water, and medical supplies provided through the Red Cross, they have set up IT-telecoms systems to aid with the assessment and coordination of relief teams.

The Red Cross is dedicated to adapting their quick responses to the needs of the specific situation with which they are working. They do this through continually developing new and improved technologies and practices for overnight stay shelters, emergency response vehicles, distribution of supplies, and more. You may be asking how an organization of this size responds to each call - check out this video to get a better idea of how the Red Cross continues to consistently respond to emergencies - even a century passed their inception.  

The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in becoming one, visit their Become a Volunteer page to learn more and see what opportunities are available!

Emma Wright