Throughout 2012, the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross responded to emergencies in our community as well as over 100 disasters across the country. Home fires continue to be the most common disaster the Red Cross responds to everyday. This year, the American Red Cross of Eastern NC has responded to 570 local disasters, the majority of which were home fires, and provided immediate emergency assistance including shelter, food, clothing, supplies, and referrals to more than 2,000 residents. From Wilmington to Elizabeth City, your local Red Cross also organized large-scale relief efforts for major disasters that hit our area including floods, tornadoes, tropical storms and hurricanes.
“These disasters affected many people’s lives here in eastern NC,” said Bill Brent, Regional CEO for the American Red Cross. “Red Cross workers from both here at home and across the country worked tirelessly to make sure people had a safe place to stay, food to eat, and help getting their lives back on track.”
The Red Cross assisted families affected by severe storms and flooding in July, which caused major damage and power outages across eastern NC. The Red Cross launched relief efforts to provide safe shelter, warm meals and supplies to people forced from their homes. Disaster workers served meals and snacks from mobile feeding trucks, and handed out relief items such as cleaning supplies and comfort kits in damaged areas. The Red Cross assisted 90 families in Pitt and Beaufort counties after the storms.
Superstorm Sandy Response
Your local Red Cross supported Superstorm Sandy preparation and response throughout eastern NC. Before the storm hit, the Red Cross set up command centers staffed with local Red Cross workers in New Bern and Elizabeth City. Four emergency shelters were opened which housed 82 residents whose homes threatened by storm surge flooding. In eastern NC, 71 local Red Cross workers sheltered, fed and distributed supplies to communities along our coast affected by Sandy. A total of 1,900 meals and snacks were served to local residents in the storms wake along with 45 comfort kits containing hygiene items and 561 clean up kits.
After local needs were met, the Red Cross shifted volunteers and resources to areas hit the hardest by Sandy including Virginia, New York and New Jersey. To date, a total of 68 Eastern NC Region Red Cross volunteers have deployed to the northeast to assist with the Superstorm Sandy relief operation. These volunteers were involved with the essential activities of shelter operations, feeding, client casework, distribution of supplies, damage assessment, and health and mental health services. Five emergency vehicles from Red Cross chapters in Elizabeth City, Goldsboro, New Bern, Rocky Mount and Wilmington were driven to the northeast by teams of Red Cross volunteers to help with mobile feeding and bulk distribution of relief supplies.
HMS Bounty Rescue
On Monday, October 29th, 2012, amidst the treacherous waves and storm surge caused by Superstorm Sandy, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 people from HMS Bounty, a 180 ft. sailing ship that sank off the coast of Hatteras, NC. Representatives from the Eastern NC Red Cross, in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, met with the 14 survivors of the HMS Bounty to offer comfort and support after the incident. Red Cross disaster workers also provided the individuals with food, clothing, and shelter, and assisted with additional immediate needs to help with their recovery.
Local Volunteers Help with National Disasters
Trained Red Cross workers responded not only to disasters in their community but also volunteered to deploy for weeks at a time to disasters around the country. More than a hundred volunteers throughout eastern NC traveled across the U.S. to provide support to people affected by major disasters in 2012 including: spring tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest, summer wildfires across the western part of the country, Hurricane Isaac along the gulf coast, and Superstorm Sandy in the northeast. These volunteers set up and ran emergency shelters, drove mobile feeding trucks into affected areas, counseled disaster victims, distributed hygiene items and clean up supplies, and most importantly, provided hope to people who needed it the most.
Serving the Military
Throughout 2012, the Red Cross continued to carry out one of its foundational missions of service to the Armed Forces. Across eastern NC the Red Cross supported 62,000 active duty military personnel, 167,000 veterans and 10,000 guardsmen/reservists living in our communities. The Red Cross responded to more than 1500 local cases where service members, veterans or their families required emergency services like financial aid, crisis counseling or emergency communication. As the year drew to an end the Red Cross of Eastern NC completed a successful Holiday Mail for Heroes program in which more than 10,000 messages of gratitude and encouragement were collected from the public and shared with service members and veterans throughout the region and abroad.
2013 Planning and Growth
The American Red Cross, Eastern NC Region formed on July 1, 2012 to create a cohesive service delivery area of 33 counties along the eastern part of NC from the SC to VA borders. Nine local Red Cross chapters, who collaborate and share resources, have set up strategic plans to ensure our communities can prepare for and respond to emergencies. In 2013, the Eastern NC Red Cross will increase our response capacity by growing our volunteer workforce and offering additional disaster training courses throughout the region. Red Cross disaster teams will continue to work closely with emergency management officials in every county and cultivate key relationships with government officials, businesses and other vital service organizations. The Red Cross looks forward to a new year of opportunities to keep our community safe from disasters, support our members of the armed forces, and provide life-saving resources.
The Red Cross thanks everyone who has supported disaster relief operations this year. Every nine minutes the Red Cross responds to a disaster in communities across the country. Whether the disaster is a hurricane or a fire in someone’s home, the Red Cross is there.
The Red Cross also provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than 9 million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.
How You Can Help
If you resolve to get more involved with your community and help those in need, consider supporting the American Red Cross by donating your blood, time or money. To become a volunteer log on to redcross.org to browse volunteer opportunities in your area and complete an online application. To donate blood, log onto redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment. To make a financial donation, visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.