The American Red Cross works with its worldwide partners in coordinated effort

The enormity of this disaster coupled with the complexity of working across two continents, a 3,000-mile swath from Indonesia to Somalia, means that the American Red Cross is working alongside the other Red Cross societies from around the world, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and international relief organizations like the United Nations World Food Program.

The American Red Cross role in responding to an international disaster is very different from our response to a disaster in the United States. We work in a coordinated manner with many global partners, taking into consideration how the American Red Cross can provide unique, specialized assistance in the areas where we can best help.

The immediate American Red Cross focus is on getting lifesaving help to millions affected by the tsunamis. This includes distributing culturally appropriate food like rice, canned fish and lentils to millions of people. Safe water and sanitation is a priority, and the American Red Cross will be rehabilitating water and sanitation systems to ensure that people have clean water and waste disposal systems.

In the near future, the American Red Cross will partner with health organizations to work in the crucial area of disease prevention, vaccinating and protecting millions against diseases like measles and polio, while also helping provide mental health support for those suffering emotional trauma. The American Red Cross will also help affected countries with prevention measures to reduce the loss of life and property from future natural disasters.

American Red Cross in Greater New York

The American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC/GNY) responded quickly to the devastating 3-alarm fire on 236 East 178th Street in the Bronx on Sunday which blazed through a 14 unit apartment building. Tragically, two New York City firefighters were killed.

Red Cross response included:

  • Temporary housing, food and other basic needs for 38 adults and 3 children. Clients continue to meet with Red Cross caseworkers for additional services where appropriate.
  • Trained disaster mental health staff helped families of the firefighters at St. Barnabas Hospital.
  • On Sunday ARC/GNY provided food for 90 victims and firefighters. Heater-meals and warm drinks were also provided. Nineteen blankets were also distributed.
  • Red Cross staff will provide comfort and assistance to mourners at the funerals of the firefighters.

The American Red Cross helps people avoid, prepare for and respond to emergencies. In addition to responding to major disasters like the events of September 11th, the American Red Cross in Greater New York responds to an average of eight emergencies a day such as blackouts, fires, water main breaks and building collapses. The Red Cross also offers a variety of health and safety courses on such subjects as First Aid and CPR.