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2023 trends: Red Cross responds to growing climate-driven humanitarian needs

Donate on GivingTuesday or give blood during the holidays to help for future crises

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2023, the intensifying climate crisis took a devastating toll on people in the U.S. who turned to the American Red Cross for help coping with a record number of billion-dollar disasters.

This year, an all-time high of 25 billion-dollar disasters ravaged communities across the country, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes from severe storms, floods and wildfires. In addition, families sweltered in the nation's hottest summer on record, including communities that rarely experience such extreme temperatures. And back-to-back disasters led to a series of blood drive cancellations, which further strained the Red Cross blood supply.

"The growing climate crisis is creating more humanitarian needs across communities and exacerbating socioeconomic challenges for so many people," American Red Cross President & CEO Gail J. McGovern said. "As we come together with our loved ones over the holidays, please remember those who need our support — and join us to deliver care and hope by making a donation or giving blood."

Help on GivingTuesday and during the holidays by visiting redcross.org to make a financial donation or an appointment to give blood or platelets. Individuals can also register for volunteer opportunities in their area.

INCREASING SUPPORT AMID THE CLIMATE CRISIS With the growing frequency and intensity of disasters driven by the climate crisis, the Red Cross is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country. As part of this work in 2023, the Red Cross distributed $108 million in financial assistance directly to people who experienced disasters of all sizes. This includes expanded financial assistance programs for major extreme weather disasters — including Hurricane Idalia, the Hawaii wildfires and a series of tornadoes across multiple states — to help families bridge critical recovery gaps, such as security deposits for new housing and costs for home repairs.

In addition to delivering expanded financial assistance programs, the Red Cross is continuing immediate relief efforts — including safe shelter, nutritious meals and emotional support — which have been provided on a near-constant basis for this year's relentless extreme disasters. This year's onslaught of large disasters drove an increase in emergency lodging provided by the Red Cross and partners — with overnight stays up more than 50% compared to the annual average for the previous five years.

RESPONDING TO ADDITIONAL EMERGING NEEDS Beyond the climate crisis, people stepped up through the Red Cross to address emerging needs related to the health of communities, including:

  • BLOOD DONATIONS: As the nation's largest blood supplier, the Red Cross is grateful for the millions of donors who rolled up a sleeve throughout the year for patients in need. To further improve people's health outcomes, the Red Cross has been working with community partners to introduce blood donation to a new and more diverse generation of blood donors — which is critical to ensuring that a reliable blood supply is available to the 1 in 7 hospital patients who need a lifesaving blood transfusion. The holidays can be a challenging time to collect enough blood for those in need. To book a time to give, visit RedCrossBlood.org, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App or call 1-800-RED CROSS. To celebrate the upcoming Prime Video release, Candy Cane Lane, those that come to give blood in December will be automatically entered to win a holiday prize package, including a $1,000 Amazon.com Gift Card and 65-inch Omni QLED Series Amazon Fire TV. There will be 12 winners. Plus, those who come to give Dec. 1-17 will get a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email. Terms for both offers apply. See rcblood.org/Amazon. Candy Cane Lane features an all-star cast, including Eddie Murphy and Tracee Ellis Ross, and directed by Reginald Hudlin.
  • INTERNATIONAL: As part of the world's largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross supported international response efforts to disasters such as this year's massive earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, the drought and hunger crisis in Africa, and flooding in Pakistan and Bangladesh. This has included providing millions in cash assistance, food, shelter, basic supplies, medical care and mental health services. As devastating conflicts persist in other areas of the world, the global Red Cross Movement continues to provide aid for people suffering, including those in Ukraine and in Israel and Gaza, as part of its neutral, humanitarian mission.
  • LIFESAVING TRAINING: This year, the Red Cross expanded its training to empower people to act during current-day crises — which is vital considering that nearly half of U.S. adults report being unprepared to respond to a medical emergency. This included launching the new "Until Help Arrives" online training course last spring for opioid overdoses, severe bleeding, cardiac arrest and choking emergencies, and partnering with professional sports leagues through the Smart Heart Sports Coalition to help prevent tragedies among student athletes by offering CPR training and increasing access to AEDs.
  • MILITARY FAMILIES: Red Cross workers helped service members on U.S. military installations and deployment sites worldwide — including in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. As part of our support this year, Red Cross volunteers delivered emergency communications messages connecting more than 87,000 service members with their loved ones during times of family need, while also engaging members in morale and wellness activities during deployments.

About Our Corporate Holiday Supporters:
The Red Cross is grateful for corporate partners who contribute to our Holiday Campaign. They include our national 2023 partners BMW/Mini and Ty. Thanks to the generosity of these and other supporters, the Red Cross is able to bring help and hope to people across the country. To learn more about our corporate holiday supporters, visit redcross.org/HolidayPartners.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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SOURCE American Red Cross

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