Friday, August 19, 2011

So Far, 2011 A Costly Disaster Year

Damaged homes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama after a devastating tornado.
Photo: Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

Experts estimate disasters caused more than $35 billion in losses

It’s been a costly year for disasters in the United States and the American Red Cross has been responding all over the country to help the thousands of people affected by flooding, tornadoes, drought and extreme heat, wildfires and other emergencies.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates the country’s economic loss attributable to disasters at more than $35 billion so far with several disasters each adding up to losses of $1 billion or more. The country is in the midst of hurricane season, which experts predict could be very active, so these numbers could grow.

The disasters in the NOAA report include:
  • flooding in the upper Midwest (Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri)

  • flooding along the Mississippi River, especially in Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Louisiana

  • extreme drought and heat combined with wildfires in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas, Arkansas and Louisiana

  • deadly tornadoes in the Midwest and southeast (Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Iowa, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee)
Nearly 14,000 Red Cross disaster workers from across the country supported 46 relief operations spread over more than half of the country this spring. They opened 287 shelters, served 3.5 million meals and snacks, distributed 1.7 million relief items, and provided 81,000 mental health and health consultations.

Their work is not over. More than 100 people in North Dakota remain in shelters after the disastrous flooding in the Minot area. Every day chapters respond to smaller disasters such as home fires. One fire involving multiple families in Montgomery County, MD, resulted in 85 residents coming to a Red Cross shelter.

Every year, the Red Cross spends an average of approximately $450 million preparing for and responding to nearly 70,000 disasters across the country and around the world. This includes both large disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes and smaller disasters such as house fires.

If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting 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.

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