MIAMI VALLEY — In a year that set new records for severe and devastating weather, the American Red Cross provided more assistance to the hundreds of thousands of people impacted by these disasters all across the United States than in the past two years combined.
In 2016, 32,000 Red Cross volunteers responded to 180 significant disasters in 45 states and two U.S. territories including wildfires, storms, flooding, Hurricane Matthew and other emergencies. Those volunteers opened nearly 800 emergency shelters, provided 206,000 overnight shelter stays to people forced from their homes, served more than 4.1 million meals and snacks, and distributed more than 2.1 million relief items.
Volunteers from the area responded to 10 of those major disasters, including:
• Flint, Mich., water crisis in January
• Alberta, Canada, wildfires in May
• Texas flooding in May
• West Virginia flooding in June
• Orlando mass shooting in June
• Kentucky flooding in July
• Louisiana flooding in August
• Indiana tornado in August
• Iowa flooding in September
• Hurricane Matthew in October
These national disasters were in addition to the local disasters that struck our region, including flooding in the spring and fall, tornadoes and severe storms.
“This year a seemingly endless chain of disasters affected hundreds of thousands of people and our Red Cross volunteers were there, helping,” said Lynne Gump, executive director of the Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross. “People impacted by disaster are facing what can be their darkest days, but we helped around the clock, making sure people had food to eat, a place to stay and help recovering. We couldn’t do all that we do without our volunteers or the generosity of the public. We aren’t a government agency, so the help we provide to families affected by disasters depends on generous financial donations of the American people.”
Amidst all of these devastating events, home fires continued to be the largest disaster threat in the United States. During 2016, the Red Cross nationally provided assistance to 79,000 families after a home fire left them with nowhere else to turn. The Red Cross and thousands of local partners are also working to help prevent home fires, deaths and injuries. Since 2014, at least 116 lives have been saved through the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign in which 574,000 smoke alarms have been installed and 625,000 youth have been taught about fire safety. To find out how you can help save lives, build a stronger community or even to prepare your family call your local Red Cross or the website www.redcross.org/NMVO.
The Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross has taught lifesaving skills, and provided disaster prevention, relief and recovery services to the Northern Miami Valley since 1917. For more information, visit RedCross.org/NMVO or follow them on Twitter at @NMVORedCross or on Facebook at Facebook.com/American-Red-Cross-Northern-Miami-Valley-Ohio.