USA

US: Generous donors meet American Red Cross hurricane relief costs

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News and Press Release
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WASHINGTON, Friday, February 03, 2006 - The American Red Cross announced that current financial donations and pledges will cover the $2.116 billion estimated cost for its response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. This announcement comes just over five months after Hurricane Katrina-the largest and most costly disaster relief operation in the nation's history. As of Dec. 31, 2005, the Red Cross has spent more than 80 percent of these donated funds.
As a good steward of donated dollars, the Red Cross has a standard practice of informing the public when sufficient funds have been raised to cover the costs associated with a disaster response. In keeping with that commitment, the Red Cross will no longer initiate fundraising activities for these hurricanes. The Red Cross asks donors to support the ongoing needs of hurricane survivors by giving to the countless other charities and non-profit organizations that continue to raise funds for hurricane recovery efforts.*

The generous financial support from around the world allowed more than 225,000 Red Cross disaster relief workers-95 percent of them volunteers-to ensure that survivors had a safe place to stay, food and comfort and the means to provide essential items for themselves and their families. Survivors received counseling, basic healthcare and family connecting services. This was accomplished on an unprecedented scale.

The Red Cross provided:

- More than 3.4 million overnight stays in nearly 1,200 Red Cross shelters

- More than 34 million meals and 30 million snacks

- Emergency financial assistance to more than 1.4 million families-more than 4 million people

For almost 125 years, Americans have trusted and relied on the Red Cross to use their donations to help those in need. The Red Cross is committed to maintaining that hard-earned trust and will continue to keep the public informed of how donations are being used to provide ongoing relief. The most recent information can be found on www.redcross.org as well as in detailed stewardship reports.

The public's continued support is essential to the more than 800 Red Cross chapters that provide lifesaving support in local communities every day. Support of the Disaster Relief Fund is also vital because it enables the Red Cross to respond quickly to large disasters whenever and wherever they strike. Last year, Red Cross chapters responded to a record 73,000 events. Nearly 92 percent were residential fires that went unnoticed nationally, but were hugely significant in the lives of those affected.

Please continue to help your neighbors in need through the American Red Cross by:

- Supporting your local Red Cross chapter

- Donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund

- Scheduling an appointment to donate blood by calling 1-800-GIVE-LIFE

- Volunteering to support the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross through your local chapter

For more information visit www.redcross.org or contact your local Red Cross chapter. *For a list of some agencies, visit www.usafreedomcorps.gov

The American Red Cross is where people mobilize to help their neighbors-across the street, across the country and across the world-in emergencies. Each year, in communities large and small, victims of some 70,000 disasters turn to neighbors familiar and new-the nearly 1 million volunteers and 35,000 employees of the Red Cross. Through more than 800 locally supported chapters, more than 15 million people gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their homes, communities and world. Some 4 million people give blood-the gift of life-through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The Red Cross helps thousands of U.S. service members separated from their families by military duty stay connected. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global network of more than 180 national societies, the Red Cross helps restore hope and dignity to the world's most vulnerable people. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.

American Red Cross
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. The Red Cross also supplies nearly half of the nation's lifesaving blood. This, too, is made possible by generous voluntary donations. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. To donate blood, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or contact your local Red Cross to find out about upcoming blood drives. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.