Red Cross responds to nearly twice as many large disasters in U.S. as a decade ago; South Florida at risk for hurricanes, floods and extreme heat
Boca Raton, FL – During National Preparedness Month in September, the American Red Cross South Florida Region urges everyone to prepare for worsening extreme weather affecting South Florida, which has experienced historic flooding, Category 5 Hurricane Ian and extreme heat.
Severe weather like this is part of a worsening national trend in which the American Red Cross has responded to nearly twice as many large disasters across the country as it did a decade ago.
As rapidly intensifying, weather-related events pose serious challenges to its humanitarian work and the people it serves, the Red Cross has announced an ambitious national plan to take urgent action. With more climate-driven disasters upending lives and devastating communities, the organization is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country, while also funding new international programs on climate response and preparedness, as well as minimizing its own environmental footprint.
Here in South Florida, this includes recruiting and training more volunteers to respond to disasters locally and across the country and advancing community partnerships through a special disaster resilience program.
“As the frequency and intensity of extreme weather grows, more people need help more often,” said Monica Rusconi, Regional Disaster Officer, American Red Cross South Florida Region. “Yet as fast as our volunteers are working to help, the needs are escalating faster. That’s why it’s critical to not only prepare yourself for risks like hurricanes in our community, but to also help families in need — both locally and in other parts of the country. Join us by becoming a volunteer or making a financial donation to support our disaster relief efforts.”
For National Preparedness Month,take three lifesaving actions — get a kit, make a plan and be informed — to help protect yourself against local emergencies. Follow safety tips now at redcross.org/prepare. You can also deliver relief and care to families facing weather by becoming a Red Cross volunteer at redcross.org/VolunteerToday.
MOUNTING U.S. DISASTER RESPONSES In the first half of 2023 alone, the nation experienced an above-average 15 billion-dollar disasters, including Hurricane Ian. That’s all on top of extreme heat in South Florida and other communities — which have made July the country’s hottest single month on record. What’s more, the U.S. is just now entering its typical peak time for hurricanes with warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea which creates more energy to fuel storm development.
ADAPTING TO THE CLIMATE CRISIS As extreme weather disasters increase, more people need help from the Red Cross in the U.S. Nationwide, the organization is taking bold and thoughtful actions to adapt its services and grow its capacity by:
Enhancing large-scale disaster response services by bolstering the aid provided in emergency shelters and extending casework support to help people with the most recovery needs.
Expanding financial assistance to help more families with unmet needs and bridge the gap between immediate disaster relief and long-term recovery assistance.
Strengthening local partner networks in targeted areas that face a high risk of extreme weather and existing societal inequities with a focus on increased access to health and mental health services, nutritious food and safe housing for local families. Here in South Florida, Lee County and Sarasota Countyare a part of 15 U.S. communities participating in this innovative Red Cross disaster resilience program to strengthen the capability and capacity of select local partners — both before and after disasters strike.
Growing its disaster workforce — comprised of 90% trained volunteers — to deepen its disaster readiness. This includes fortifying the critical infrastructure and technology that enables 24/7 response to disasters across the country.
SUPPORT OUR DISASTER RELIEF WORK Help people affected by disasters big and small, including climate-driven crises, by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters in the U.S. Visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
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.