Red Cross teams in Nepal are on high alert following today’s 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck near the town of Namche Bazaar, near the base of Mount Everest. Initial reports indicate that hundreds of homes have collapsed, many of which were already damaged by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the country on April 25.
American Red Cross President & CEO, Gail McGovern, has just returned from her trip to the small Himalayan country where shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, health care and food remain priorities.
All American Red Cross staff in Nepal have been accounted for. American Red Cross team members deployed to the region in the wake of the April quake have been supporting emergency relief, cash transfer programming, information management, recovery planning and IT/telecoms. More than 80 international and local Red Cross workers based out of the Nepal Red Cross headquarters in Kathmandu, rapidly evacuated the compound when the earthquake struck and now face a night sleeping in a recently erected temporary warehouse until the aftershocks subside.
The Norwegian Red Cross rapid deployment hospital based in the town of Chautara, has seen a steady influx of injured people throughout the day and the support team working at the hospital are helping to set up a camp outside to provide shelter for local villagers, many of whom are too scared to return to their homes or have lost their homes altogether.
The Red Cross’s Maude Froberg was en route to the town of Tatopani close to the Tibetan border. Her convoy was forced to turn back to Kathmandu after worrying reports of landslides in the area.
“We were high up in the mountains. It was quite terrifying as there were about ten aftershocks and we felt that there could be a landslide at any moment,” she said. “Over the course of the afternoon we saw a lot of vehicles heading out of Tatopani towards Kathmandu.”
At the Canadian Red Cross basic health care unit located high up in the mountains in Dhunche, the team witnessed a dramatic landslide when a nearby hillside collapsed into the valley below. View a short video of the rock slide on YouTube – https://youtu.be/T79UDt4_lUo
“The combination of rains and aftershocks now makes our job even more challenging as the roads become highly perilous,” explains Martin Faller, head of operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Asia Pacific. “Today’s earthquake has dealt a double blow to many of the same people who were hit by the 25 April quake. More people will now be in need of emergency shelter but they will also need support dealing with the trauma they have experienced. People are very scared.”
Reports coming in also indicate that there has been damage to areas in the Kathmandu Valley. The Nepal Red Cross has mobilized emergency first aid teams and are providing services to the injured including teams dispatched to Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, where ambulances are transporting the injured to hospitals.
Thus far, the American Red Cross has committed $5 million to help the people of Nepal recover from the devastating earthquake and aftershocks. In addition to the deployment of disaster specialists, the American Red Cross is contributing relief supplies such as jerry cans, tarps and kitchen sets, and is providing remote mapping and information management support, with nearly 4,500 volunteers contributing to mapping Nepal.
Wildfire season is in full swing and the American Red Cross Asheville – Mountain Area is hard at work supporting the Forestry Service, Black Mountain Fire Department, area responders and families affected by a raging wildfire.
Since Tuesday evening, the Red Cross has had over 25 disaster volunteers on site providing safe overnight accommodations for several displaced residents, and serving more than 1,200 meals and snacks to the team of responders who continue their work to gain control of the blaze that has burned more than 590 acres. Though the blaze is now more than 80 percent contained, responders will be battling hot spots for several more days.
he Black Mountain fire began early afternoon Tuesday, March 31, and continues to rapidly spread burning more than 590 acres, and damaging and destroying several homes in the community of Ridgecrest. Fueled by humidity, the blaze is only about 25 percent
contained; therefore, responders will most likely be battling this fire for several more days.
The Red Cross plans to keep its support operation going as long as first responders are in need. A Red Cross evacuation shelter is also on stand by for residents in the Swannanoa community. When it is safe to do so, volunteers will work with community members to assess damages and determine any assistance needed for the recovery process.
Please be careful as high winds and dry conditions bring about more wildfires across parts of the country. Learn more about how to stay safe before, during and after wildfires. If you know a relative or friend seeking assistance after the wildfire, they can find their local Red Cross by visiting redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
Early one morning, around 4:30a.m., 5 year-old Matthew was awakened for a second by the smoke alarm beeping, and then he went back to sleep. Matthew says, “I woke up then went back to sleep, I woke up then went back to sleep, I woke up then went back to sleep and then I saw fire at the bottom of our bed.”
Matthew immediately screamed to his brother, Daniel, Jr., who was beside him, “there’s a fire!” They both jumped out of bed, ran to their parent’s bedroom screaming there’s a fire.
Both parents startled from being in a deep sleep, immediately woke up and mom (Christie) ran into the boy’s bedroom to see what was going on – to find not only the ottoman at the bottom of their bed on fire, but the entire room was fully engulfed in fire in a matter of seconds. She ran back yelling for everyone to get out of the house now! She grabbed baby Maddie, dad (Daniel, Sr.) got the boys and they frantically ran out of the house. When they were all outside and accounted for, Dad called 911.
The fire department arrived and was battling the fire, and “we were just standing there in a daze watching our home burn to the ground within a matter of minutes,” said Christy. “Everything we have worked so hard for was in flames. It was all gone. And then I looked down at our children, and remembered it was because of the smoke detector that we were all safe. So I encourage everyone to make sure you have a working smoke detector in your home – it saved our lives.”
As they remained standing outside in the dark, the children were starting to get cold. They realized the only things they had were the pajamas they were wearing – not even a pair of shoes. “It was at that point that I comprehended we were homeless – no home, no clothes and no food – we had nothing,” said Daniel. “Then out of nowhere, a Red Cross truck drove up, and it was such a relief to see them. Because of the Red Cross, we didn’t have to sleep in our car. They made it possible for us to have a roof over our head – food to eat, clothes on our back and a great deal of support. We couldn’t have made it without them. Thank you, Red Cross. The work you do and the support you provide is awesome.”
Today, the family has moved into a new home, and they are slowly getting their lives back together. Matthew is still a little shy when talking about the fire. He holds his stuffed animal tightly when he talks. But most important to Matthew, and the only time he put his stuffed animal down was to express that he is now six years old. He isn’t five years old anymore.
Turn clocks ahead and test smoke detectors.
Daylight Saving Time kicks in at 2:00 a.m. Sunday, and the American Red Cross has a reminder for households across the country: TURN your clocks ahead one hour, and TEST your smoke alarms.
CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARM BATTERIES When you turn the clocks ahead, take a few minutes to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working. It’s also a great time to check your carbon monoxide detectors.
HOW CAN I MAINTAIN SMOKE ALARMS? Smoke alarms save lives. You should:
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
• Check monthly that smoke alarms are working properly by pushing the test button.
• Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year.
• Replace smoke alarms every ten years.
AM I READY IF A FIRE OCCURS? In addition to checking and replacing smoke alarm batteries, households should take a second important step in fire safety. Planning for fire emergencies is important, so all families should practice fire drills at home.
Make sure all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home, and set up a meeting place outside in case of a fire. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
With home fires as the biggest disaster threat facing families, the American Red Cross (Red Cross) volunteers and staff members pounded the pavement with partners, HOPE Worldwide Charlotte Volunteers, in high risk neighborhoods to inform families how to be appropriately prepared in the event of a home fire. The fire safety information included creating a household fire escape plan and tips for cooking and heating a home safely this winter. Additionally, safety information was left for families who were not home or unavailable.
When smoke alarms are installed in the optimal locations, they can be vital to protecting families and homes against fatal fires. There should be a functioning smoke alarm on every level of the home (including the basement), in the hallway outside a group of bedrooms and/or inside bedrooms, on the ceiling at the bottom of stairways, and/or in the living room/family room.
The Red Cross participates in home fire preparedness and responsiveness because home fires are actually preventable. Fires in the home happen almost instantly and can devastate lives and homes in merely minutes. Home fires leave families with nearly nothing and nowhere to go. On average, seven people die each day from a home fire. Once a merciless fire begins in the home, families have a meagre two minutes to evacuate. For that reason, it is exceedingly important to discuss a fire evacuation plan with your family.
To be more prepared in the face of a home fire emergency, visit redcross.org/prepare/disaster/home-fire.
In honor of Black History Month this February, and in the spirit of Dr. Charles Drew, an African-American surgeon who was the first medical director of the American Red Cross and a modern blood-banking pioneer, eligible donors as diverse as the patients who need their blood donations are encouraged to give blood to ensure a sufficient blood supply.
Blood from a donor with a similar ethnic background as that of the patient is less likely to cause complications, particularly for those patients whose chronic conditions require repeated transfusions. Sickle cell disease is one such chronic condition affecting as many as 100,000 people in the United States.
Prior to transfusion, blood type and Rh factor are matched between donated blood and the patient in need. In some cases, additional red cell markers in donated blood must be matched, as well. These markers are best found in blood from donors of a similar ethnicity.
With seasonal flu and inclement winter weather preventing many regular donors from giving, the Red Cross urges healthy, eligible donors to make an appointment to donate blood in the coming days and weeks. All blood types are currently needed to help maintain a diverse and sufficient blood supply, especially types O negative, A negative and B negative.
To learn more about donating blood and to schedule an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Zone1_Feb 1-15 Blood Drive Announcement
During the holidays, one in four people will be in a situation where live saving skills such as CPR are required. Are you the one in four who is capable of administering CPR to save the life of a friend or family member?
CPR can save lives when administered properly and immediately to sudden cardiac arrest victims. The life you save with CPR is most likely to be someone you love or know. This alarming statistic could hit close to home, because home is exactly where 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur.
During a cardiac emergency, 70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed. Because of this, the Red Cross CPR Certifications are valid for only two years. So every two years, people who are CPR Certified must renew their certification.
To register for a class in your community, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcross.org/takeaclass.