The American Red Cross reached millions of people by handing out relief items including food and water while providing shelter and comfort to those affected by 126 large-scale disasters around the world in 2012, the aid agency said in its annual review in early December.
In the U.S. alone, the Red Cross responded to 113 disasters in 42 states and another 13 major disasters in more than 20 countries around the world.
“Hurricane Sandy was the biggest U.S. response in five years, but it wasn't the only disaster that disrupted lives in 2012,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services.
"Devastating tornadoes and raging wildfires wiped out entire neighborhoods while Hurricane Isaac affected communities all along the Gulf Coast."
"The Red Cross responded to each of these disasters, offering shelter, food and comfort to people on their darkest days,” he added.
During the U.S. hurricane season—which began in June with Tropical Storm Debby—the Red Cross mobilized thousands of volunteers after Hurricane Issac in late August, providing 157 shelters and thousands of meals to those in need.
By late October, the Red Cross responded to Jamaica and Haiti after they were hit by Hurricane Sandy—which later affected 11 states in the process.
“The large Red Cross relief effort continues today, weeks after the storm's landfall,” a Red Cross news release said referring to Hurricane Sandy— for which the Red Cross has raised $170 million in relief funds. They will end up spending about $110 million through the end of December alone, the aid agency said.
As of March 2012, 95 confirmed tornadoes had affected the U.S. Midwest and Southeast just three months into the new year.
“The Red Cross launched responses to provide safe shelter, warm meals and relief supplies to people forced from their homes. Disaster workers served nearly a quarter of a million meals and snacks and handed out more than 112,000 relief items like cleaning supplies and comfort kits.”
The Red Cross reached three million people in the past year during 13 large-scale disasters ranging from war, floods and mass food shortages.
Senegal, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Mali and Malawi all received assistance in 2012 after widespread food shortages.
"Every nine minutes the Red Cross responds to a disaster in communities across the country, and whether it’s a hurricane or a fire in someone’s home, the Red Cross is there," said the agency's website. To support any Red Cross mission, visit www.redcross.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS [1-800-733-2767].
Peter Paul has been a Toronto and International Headlines Examiner for Examiner.com since 2009. Connect with him on Twitter @PeterPaulX or join his Examiner Facebook fan page.