Each year, the American Red Cross responds immediately to more than 67,000 disasters,
including house or apartment fires (the majority of disaster responses), hurricanes, floods,
earthquakes, tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, transportation accidents, explosions, and
other natural and man-made disasters.
The Good News Is That We Can Help
Although the American Red Cross is not a government agency, its authority to provide disaster
relief was formalized when, in 1905, the Red Cross was chartered by Congress to "carry on a
system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the
sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and
to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same."
The Charter is not only a grant of power, but also an imposition of duties and obligations to
the nation, to disaster victims, and to the people who generously support its work with their
donations. Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people's immediate emergency disaster-caused
When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and
mental health services to address basic human needs. In addition to these services, the core of
Red Cross disaster relief is the assistance given to individuals and families affected by
disaster to enable them to resume their normal daily activities independently.
The Red Cross also feeds emergency workers, handles inquiries from concerned family members
outside the disaster area, provides blood and blood products to disaster victims, and helps those
affected by disaster to access other available resources.
From the American National Red Cross -
Disaster Services Page)
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, 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.
You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a
financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to
provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need.