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Red Cross: Iowa region responds to 440 disasters in 2013

December 27, 2013
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald
DES MOINES–––In a year that had deadly tornadoes, fierce wildfires and destructive floods in many states, the Iowa Region of the American Red Cross responded to 440 disasters (422 home fires) in Iowa, part of the 146 large disaster relief efforts led by the Red Cross in 42 states and territories between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1 in 2013. This year, the Red Cross continued to serve the people of Iowa through the dedicated work of its staff and volunteers, said Leslie Schaffer, Regional Chapter Executive. 2013 was a busy year and we are so very thankful for everyone who supported our efforts to help those in need. Here at Home In 2013, 1,559 Iowa Region volunteers: •Provided food, clothing, shelter and comfort to 1,753 individuals affected by home fires, flooding, tornados and winter storms. •Trained 47,368 people in CPR, First Aid, AED and life-saving water safety skills. •Provided emergency communications, support and referrals to 1,245 military service members and their families around the world and in Iowa. • Trained 15,765 people in disaster preparedness. Behind the Numbers: Mobilizing Responses for Big Disasters Flooding In April, flooding struck 10,000 homes in 10 counties in Illinois. More than a thousand Red Cross volunteers provided shelter and food to displaced families and delivered relief supplies to those returning to waterlogged homes. In September, almost a half-year s worth of rain fell in just three days across several counties in and around Boulder, Colo. Red Crossers responded and served more than 204,000 meals and snacks, handed out more than 249,000 relief items and provided about 15,000 health and mental health contacts. The Red Cross also provided a total of 3,800 shelter stays for people forced from their homes by the flooding. Tornados and Severe Storms The largest and most deadly tornado outbreak in 2013 came in Oklahoma in May, when a series of tornadoes ripped through the state, and Red Cross workers were there to comfort the survivors, including the community of Moore, Okla., where two elementary schools were struck by a deadly EF-4 tornado. More than six months later, the Red Cross continues to help residents through long-term recovery centers and other community programs. In addition, Mississippi was hit particularly hard by severe spring storms for the third year in a row, including a tornado that severely damaged the Red Cross building in Hattiesburg in February. Again in April, the Red Cross was there, opening shelters, providing food and water, and helping survivors recover. In November, dozens of tornadoes cut a path of destruction through the Midwest, damaging more than 1,000 homes and leaving hundreds of thousands without power during a cold snap. Home Fires It s not just the high-profile disasters that left thousands of people in need this year. The Red Cross also responded to more than 52,000 home fires across America, helping 226,000 people get back on their feet. For those who have suffered a home fire, the event can be just as devastating as the high profile disasters that get a large amount of national attention. Regardless of the size of the event, the Red Cross responds in the same way with shelter, food and emotional support

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