Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What In The World, Wednesday!

Welcome to What In The World, Wednesday! In which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...
JAPAN: Red Cross relief in Japan is more than food and blankets. Psychosocial nurses are helping survivors deal with theemotional impact of disaster, while on the other side of the globe the Irish Red Cross has started an online message board for the public to post messages of support the people of Japan.
SOMALIA: The British Red Cross is supporting Somalia Red Crescent efforts to continue providing food, healthcare, water and sanitation facilities in response to a severe drought.

KENYA: The IFRC and Kenya Red Cross are taking early action to tackle drought.

Côte d'Ivoire: Before the fighting started, the city of Toulepleu had a population of between 40,000 and 50,000. Today, just 3,000 people remain in or near the town. Everyone else has fled. The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire have begun providing emergency aid for those who remain.

TUNISIA: Red Crescent volunteers have been caring for thousands of migrant workers stuck in the Djerba airport after fleeing the violence in Libya.

LIBYA: In the still unstable city of Ajdabiya, the ICRC and Libyan Red Crescent staff delivered enough lentils, oil, rice, salt, tea and sugar to 15,000 people to cover their needs for a month. They also distributed blankets, cooking sets and hygiene kits.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In Need of a Summer Internship? We Can Help!

Aaron Lloyd, H&S Services Intern
Our interns work hard, so hard in fact that I often find them breaking into our Emergency Preparedness Kits for food and water because they didn't take a lunch break. While we may be one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world, we still rely on the help of our volunteers and interns to aid us in our mission services. Did you know that 97% of the American Red Cross workforce is purely volunteer? Your local Chapter of the Red Cross is now recruiting interns for our Communications department for the Summer/Fall semester. Do you think you have what it takes? If so, check out what we are looking for and apply asap!

Communications & Social Networking Intern 

Position: The Communications & Social Networking Intern works directly with the Social Media Coordinator at the Chapter assisting with marketing and public relations projects.

Hours: Minimum 8-10 hours per week through Summer/Semester. Prefer intern commit to at least three-hour blocks of time in office.

Compensation: Unpaid Internship. Will work with intern to provide academic credit if applicable.

· Assist with marketing projects
· Work with staff to create copy for website
· Assist with publishing email blasts
· Draft content for newsletters, press releases and articles
· Draft content for blogs and manage postings
· Monitor and post content on blogs, forums, and social networks.
· Grow and engage our network base on social sites including: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.
· Create and monitor online contests and activities
· Further engage our base using online blog, CrossWords.
· Set up email list/database to be used for e-blast newsletters 

Skills Needed: 
· Detail oriented
· Creative, some graphic design experience helpful
· Proficient in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher
· Excellent written and verbal communication skills
· Good interpersonal and communication skills, motivated to learn & reliable
· Internet savvy; proficiency with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Blogger.
· Basic knowledge of Photoshop, HTML or Adobe Creative Suite a plus, but not necessary.

Application Instructions: 
Submit the following documents by e-mail or standard mail delivery or to contact listed below. Applicants will be notified; please no phone calls.

· Current resume and cover letter
· Two writing samples (ex. Press Release, Newsletter, Marketing Piece, News Article)
· Internship Program Application (if applicable)

The American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or subscribe to our blog at

Contact Information: Anya Goosev
Community Resource Coordinator
2002 N. Fine Ave
Fresno, CA 93727

Friday, March 25, 2011

Myanmar Mayhem and the Red Cross.

At least 74 people were killed in a strong earthquake that struck Myanmar, state media said on Friday, while a series of aftershocks have caused panic but only limited damage in Thailand and Laos.

The death toll from Thursday's 6.8 magnitude tremor was expected to rise slightly in Myanmar after 225 homes and nine government buildings were destroyed. Over 100 people were injured, according to state television.

The quake sparked panic, but no major damage, in other countries across Southeast Asia. This month's devastating Japan quake and tsunami have revived memories of the even more powerful 2004 Indonesia quake and tsunami which killed around 226,000 people.

An aftershock of an estimated magnitude of 5.5 rattled Thailand on Friday but caused limited damage, although residents living in properties close to the epicenter were advised to leave their homes.

The initial quake shook the famous "Golden Triangle" region, where Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet. It was felt in the capital cities of Thailand and Myanmar and as far away as Vietnam, where people evacuated tall buildings.

It was 6.2 miles below the surface but caused only slight damage on the Thai side
The town of Tachilek in Myanmar was badly hit by Thursday's quake. People fled their homes and cracks were seen in the roads.

"We were extremely frightened to enter the house since there were several strong aftershocks," a teacher said by telephone. "Some people are haunted by what they saw on TV about the recent earthquake in Japan."

Witnesses crossing the border into Thailand said a large tent had been set up on a soccer field for hundreds of people whose homes were destroyed. Officials said nine government offices and 10 Buddhist monasteries were destroyed.

Red Cross said a hospital in Tachilek had been damaged and trained local volunteers had been mobilized to provide relief and first aid.

Thursday's quake was centered 111 km (69 miles) north of Chiang Rai, Thailand's northernmost province and a sparsely populated, hilly area. It forms part of the Golden Triangle, a popular tourist destination and famous for the cultivation of illicit opium.

In Chiang Rai's main town, little damage was seen. The spires of several Buddhist pagodas were bent, some tiles were smashed and a few cracks were seen on the ground close to a hotel.

Fearing more aftershocks, people in the province's Mae Sai district, 60 km from the epicenter, had left their houses and were seen setting up makeshift shelters in open spaces. One woman died in Mae Sai on Thursday when a wall of her home caved in.

Somchai Hatyatanti, Chiang Rai provincial governor, said cracks were seen in some buildings. Power was briefly knocked out and some telephone lines were down.

Bountheun Menevilay, head of the disaster preparedness division of the Red Cross in neighboring Laos, said the quake was felt strongly in the thinly populated border provinces of Luang Namtha and Bokeo, but no deaths or injuries were reported.

Vibul Sguanpong, director general of Thailand's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said there had been dozens of aftershocks.

"We urge those in very old houses or tall, old buildings near the northern border with Myanmar to check for cracks and other signs of damage, and consider leaving for the next two days while aftershocks are likely," he said.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Need a Friend… How About a Manikin?

Trying to find a companion for that trip to the movies or night out? Why not choose a manikin? They don’t talk much, their lightweight, no arms to steal your things, no legs to ditch you, and best of all, you can dress them however you want. What else could you ask for?!

Asmund S. Laerdal, innovator and founder of Laerdal Medical AS started the company in the 1940's as a small publishing house, specializing in greetings cards and children's books. The company soon expanded into the manufacturing of wooden toys. Pioneering in soft plastics in the early 50's, Laerdal made millions of realistic play dolls and "furniture friendly" toy cars. During the late 1950's, Asmund would create the first CPR manikin.

At the turn of the 19th century, the body of a young girl was pulled from the River Seine in Paris. There was no evidence of violence and it was assumed she had taken her own life. Because her identity could not be established, a death mask was made; this was customary in such cases. The young girl’s delicate beauty and ethereal smile added to the enigma of her death. Generations later, the girl from the River Seine was brought back to life when Asmund began the development of a realistic and effective training aid to teach mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Moved by the story of the girl so tragically taken by early death, he adopted her mask for the face of his new resuscitation-training manikin, Resusci-Anne. He was convinced that if such a manikin was life-sized and life-like, students would be better motivated to learn this lifesaving procedure. Since then, manikins have continued to advance and are used for a wide variety of training purposes such as advanced airway placement and IV therapy.

So now you know where these little bundles of joy come from, come meet one in person by signing up for a training course at your local American Red Cross. It’s the only time you are guaranteed a kiss on the first date so what have you got to lose? 

What In The World, Wednesday!

Welcome to What In The World, Wednesday. In which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...

JAPAN: The Red Cross is scaling up relief efforts to meet the huge needs. To date, the Japanese Red Cross has handed out more than 125,000 blankets and 20,700 emergency kits – including portable radios, flashlights and other supplies – to help evacuees cope with the cold weather and lack of electricity. Other badly needed items, such as diapers, baby food, undershirts and face masks, are being procured from within the country as well. In parallel with the distribution of relief goods, Red Cross planners are also consulting with the local authorities to map out other ways of making survivors’ lives more comfortable during their stay in evacuation centers.
BANGLADESH: Since the current crisis erupted in Libya, the ICRC has been helping thousands of Bangladeshi workers who have fled the country.
SOMALIA: With ICRC support, the Somali Red Crescent Society has opened two new health clinics in conflict and drought-affected regions to serve more than 100,000 people.
WORLDWIDE: The ICRC is helping Latin American prisons eradicate tuberculosis. Meanwhile other members of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network are addressing TB around the world in places like China, India, and Siberia.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Timberrrrr! Look Out For Falling Trees!

This morning I was speaking to one of our instructors who lives up in the North Fork region. He informed me that over the weekend he saw several feet of snow fall right outside of his window, not to mention that he had is own personal disaster. He awoke to a tree leaning directly onto the roof of his house. While no one was injured and no serious damage was done. It lead me to think, does the Red Cross assist those who have a tree land on the roof of their home? Well the answer is an obvious yes! In fact, last year your local Chapter has assisted two families who have experienced the exact same situation. So why does this happen? Here's why...

High winds combined with large amounts of rain create an ideal situation for trees to become uprooted and turn into plummeting forces of death and destruction. From 1995-2007, it is estimated that 407 deaths have occurred from wind related falling trees. So next time your out for a quiet stroll through the woods, be sure to pay extra attention to the sound of falling timber. Also, bring a friend along so there is someone left to get help if the other is trapped under 1500 lbs of tree.

Also, when treating a fallen tree related injury, what better tool to use then an official American Red Cross first aid kit. First Aid kits can be purchased at any local American Red Cross Chapter or better yet how about take a Wilderness and Remote First Aid course! Contact us at (559) 455-1000 and see how we can help you to be ready for that falling tree related emergency.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Be Red Cross Ready" and Support Your American Red Cross!

Bernardo, Susana, and Ryan are "Red Cross Ready!"
Greetings Red Crossers!

My name is Ryan Houtby and I'm here to inform you about an exciting new fundraiser that your local Red Cross chapter is having to support awareness for National American Red Cross month in March. 

I am part of a marketing team from Fresno State, along with two other really awesome people by the names of Bernardo Martin and Susana Villa Gomez. As an assignment in our Marketing class, we were asked to help a local Fresno agency market any ideas that they had, and we are very excited to be working with the American Red Cross Central Valley Chapter!

For the month of March, the American Red Cross is going to be selling “Be Red Cross Ready”  bands. If you are not familiar with these, they are small silicone bands that hang on your wrist to support a certain cause. The bands will have the phrase “Be Red Cross Ready" printed on them. The bands are very popular and make great gifts! The best part is that at the same time you will be spreading awareness for a great cause. 

Each band will cost $2.00, and 100% of the proceeds go directly to the mission services of the American Red Cross. Our marketing team will be distributing the bands to local high schools and community colleges to sell. But if you would like to sell some or purchase your own "Be Red Cross Ready" band then all you need to do is contact me or one of my teammates to sign a fundraising agreement. If you have any questions at all about the bands, contact any one of us at:

We are all really excited about this fundraiser and hope that you will join us in supporting the American Red Cross!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lunar Perigee: Should We Be Prepared?

On March 19, the moon will swing around Earth more closely than it has in the past 18 years, lighting up the night sky from just 221,567 miles (356,577 kilometers) away. On top of that, it will be full. And one astrologer believes it could inflict massive damage on the planet.

Richard Nolle, a noted astrologer who runs the website, has famously termed the upcoming full moon at lunar perigee (the closest approach during its orbit) an "extreme supermoon." When the moon goes super-extreme, Nolle says, chaos will ensue: Huge storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters can be expected to wreak havoc on Earth. (It should be noted that astrology is not a real science, but merely makes connections between astronomical and mystical events.)

But do we really need to start stocking survival shelters in preparation for the supermoon?

The question is not actually so crazy. In fact scientists have studied related scenarios for decades. Even under normal conditions, the moon is close enough to Earth to make its weighty presence felt: It causes the ebb and flow of the ocean tides. The moon's gravity can even cause small but measureable ebbs and flows in the continents, called "land tides" or "solid Earth tides," too. The tides are greatest during full and new moons, when the sun and moon are aligned either on the same or opposite sides of the Earth.

According to John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Washington in Seattle and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, particularly dramatic land and ocean tides do trigger earthquakes. "Both the moon and sun do stress the Earth a tiny bit, and when we look hard we can see a very small increase in tectonic activity when they're aligned," Vidale told Life's Little Mysteries.

At times of full and new moons, "you see a less-than-1-percent increase in earthquake activity, and a slightly higher response in volcanoes."

The effect of tides on seismic activity is greatest in subduction zones such as the Pacific Northwest, where one tectonic plate is sliding under another. William Wilcock, another seismologist at the University of Washington, explained: "When you have a low tide, there's less water, so the pressure on the seafloor is smaller. That pressure is clamping the fault together, so when it's not there, it makes it easier for the fault to slip."

According to Wilcock, earthquake activity in subduction zones at low tides is 10 percent higher than at other times of the day, but he hasn't observed any correlations between earthquake activity and especially low tides at new and full moons. Vidale has observed only a very small correlation.

What about during a lunar perigee? Can we expect more earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on March 19, when the full moon will be so close?

The moon's gravitational pull at lunar perigee, the scientists say, is not different enough from its pull at other times to significantly change the height of the tides and thus the likelihood of natural disasters. "A lot of studies have been done on this kind of thing by USGS scientists and others," John Bellini, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey, told Life's Little Mysteries. "They haven't found anything significant at all."

Vidale concurred. "Practically speaking, you'll never see any effect of lunar perigee," he said. "It's somewhere between 'It has no effect' and 'It's so small you don't see any effect.'"

The bottom line is, the upcoming supermoon won't cause a preponderance of earthquakes, although the idea isn't a crazy one. "Earthquakes don't respond as much to the tides as you'd think they would. There should actually be more of an effect," said Vidale.

Most natural disasters have nothing to do with the moon at all. The Earth has a lot of pent up energy, and it releases it anytime the buildup gets too great. The supermoon probably won't push it past the tipping point, but we'll know for sure, one way or the other, by March 20.

In case you aren't prepared for the Supermoon, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Floods, Fires, or Alien Invasion, the Red Cross can help! Visit us online to learn how you too can Be Red Cross Ready, or contact your local Chapter for a Disaster Preparedness/Hands-Only CPR Seminar at (559) 455-1000

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Katrina's St. Patrick's Day Pick!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Disaster Bloggers!
Practicing preparedness is just as important as being physically prepared. Just having your Go-Bag ready is only the beginning of being prepared. If you just buy stuff and shove it into a back pack and toss it in a closet without opening the items to see how they work, or if they actually do work it may be too late to do anything about when you need it most.

With the world at one of its most unpredictable cycles of both natural and human unrest, we need to be more than just "saying we're ready."

Have a plan and practice it with your families and colleagues. Don’t just assume everyone is going to remember what they need to do, where they put their Go-Bags, or even remember how to use the items they haven’t seen in a year.

If you want a good wakeup call as to what can happen to you, your family or business by becoming complacent about practicing your plan, go down to your local video store and rent the 1990 movie "The Great Los Angeles Earthquake."

Starring Joanna Kerns, as an Earthquake Specialist trying to convince City officials and her own family that the big one is about to hit, she makes her family go through the practice of their emergency plan and pack on regular basis, so when they need it will be second nature to them. The movie is sort of cheesy, but has some real good points from the stand point of practicing along with being prepared, it will really make you think!

So if you have nothing to do better to do this weekend. Take the time go rent the movie, sit down with your family and friends, and afterwards get out your plan and practice. If you don’t know where to start making your plan you can go to, or you can contact your local Red Cross Chapter and we can help you Be Red Cross Ready!

-Katrina Poitras, Director of Disaster Services

Saint Patrick’s Day, a Worldwide Party!

Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday celebrated Internationally on March 17. It is named after Saint Patrick and originated as a Catholic holiday. It wasn’t until the early 17th century that it became an official feast day and today it is a huge part of Irish Culture. So, this year, while your testing your luck of the Irish in an exciting game of "drink until you can’t feel anything anymore," take a look at how the rest of the world celebrates the green holiday. 

Argentina - Celebrates with all-night long parties in designated streets, since the weather is comfortably warm in March. People dance and drink only beer throughout the night, until seven or eight in the morning, and although the tradition of mocking those who do not wear green does not exist, many people wear something green.

Canada - One of the longest-running Saint Patrick's Day parades in North America occurs each year in Montreal, the flag of which has a shamrock in one of its corners. The parades have been held in continuity since 1824

Great Britain - The Queen Mother used to present bowls of shamrock flown over from Ireland to members of the Irish Guards, a regiment in the British Army consisting primarily of soldiers from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Guards still wear shamrock on this day, flown in from Ireland.

Montserrat - Known as "Emerald Island of the Caribbean" because of its founding by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis, is the only place in the world apart from Ireland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador where St Patrick's Day is a public holiday. The holiday commemorates a failed slave uprising that occurred on 17 March 1768.

South Korea - Seoul (Capital city of South Korea) has celebrated Saint Patrick's Day since 2001 with Irish Association of Korea. The place of parade and festival has been moved from Itaewon and Daehangno to Cheonggyecheon.

New Zealand - Saint Patrick's Day is widely celebrated in New Zealand - green items of clothing are traditionally worn and the streets are often filled with revellers drinking and making merry from early afternoon until late at night.

Japan - Saint Patrick's Parades are now held in 9 locations across Japan. The first parade, in Tokyo, was organised by The Irish Network Japan in 1992. Today, parades and other events related to Saint Patrick's Day spread across almost the entire month of March.

United States - Well, I’m pretty sure you all can figure out how we celebrate here. Just mix enough green and beer together and it’s sure to be a good time.

And this year, while you’re wearing your traditional green colors, remember to mix some red into your day by making a donation to your local American Red Cross to help aid the relief efforts in Japan. And fear not, we will still accept your donation while heavily intoxicated. Just think of it this way, you're going to blow a large amount of money anyways, might as well put some of it to good use and help those in need. May you all have a safe and Merry Saint Patrick’s Day!

-Aaron Lloyd, Health & Safety Services Intern

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What In The World, Wednesday!

Welcome to the What In The World, Wednesday, in which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...
JAPAN: Medical teams are operating out of hospitals and mobile clinics treating survivors, while other Japanese Red Cross teams focus on search and rescue and caring for the very large number of people in evacuation centers. As the number of people missing following the earthquake continues to grow, more languages have been added to the family links website to assist people anxious for news about loved ones in the disaster area. For more info, read our FAQs regarding the earthquake in Japan.
IRAQ: The ICRC has announced plans to expand its micro-grant initiative to help disadvantaged Iraqis start their own businesses and begin earning much-needed income.
GAMBIA: The ICRC has assisted 677 returnees from Libya.

LIBYA: One month after armed violence broke out, the fighting continues and is now spreading to the country’s most populated areas. The ICRC has transferred its staff in Benghazi to the eastern city of Tobruk, where it will continue to assist victims of the conflict.
SYRIA: The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have begun to distribute clean drinking water to more than 21,000 vulnerable people in drought-stricken governorates.

Quick Update!

This one is for all you Valley folks up in the foothills and higher elevations complaining about the weather. Clearly it's not that cold. Safety Guy could still do "Jazz Hands" even under icy conditions!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Radiation Fears Threaten Red Cross Relief Effort

An evolving nuclear crisis in quake-hit Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, could add misery to hundreds of thousands of quake victims by possibly forcing relief organizations to withdraw their operations.

"The Japanese Red Cross Society is committed to rescue any victims, including those of nuclear radiation," JRCS spokesman Mutsuhiko Owaki said. "But we cannot send rescue workers to places where there is a clear risk of radiation exposure," he added, indicating that the group will have to limit its operations to areas where such risks are low.

In response to an appeal for help from the JRCS, a five-person team has arrived in Japan from the International Red Cross to evaluate Japan's assistance needs. The team's assessment on the radiation risks could influence the decision by other countries to send rescue teams to Japan.

Miyagi is located just north of Fukushima prefecture, the scene of partial reactor meltdowns in the worst nuclear disaster in Japan's history.The Tokyo Fire Department, which currently has about 500 firefighters engaged in relief operations in Miyagi prefecture, said it will have to consider options such as redeploying its rescue workers. "There would be no choice but to take action if the situation became much worse," a spokesman said.

Japanese relief teams are fairly experienced in dealing with quake-related disasters. But none anticipated having to deal with a radiation crisis.

On Tuesday, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station suffered an explosion in one reactor and a fire in another, causing the release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere. Near the plant, radiation reached levels that could pose serious health risks. Even in Tokyo, 200 kilometers, or 124 miles, south of the scene of the explosion, higher-than-normal levels of radiation were detected, although they still are far below the levels posing any health hazard to humans, according to officials of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The Japanese Red Cross Society has three teams of doctors and nurses engaged for medical assistance in Fukushima. It said it plans to send 99 teams—a total of some 700 rescue workers—to the quake hit prefectures.

It also plans to send teams of volunteers, mostly people with a license to operate heavy machinery, aircraft and boats, to provide logistical assistance to the medical teams.

The JRCS said it hasn't formulated an emergency response to a possible nuclear meltdown. "It is hard to make such a plan because the situation is so unpredictable," Mr. Owaki said.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces stand by its commitment to prevent a nuclear disaster and rescue survivors at all costs. "The SDF has no plan to change its missions because of the radiation risks," said a spokesman of the Japanese Defense Ministry.

Four SDF troops sustained injuries when an explosion occurred at one of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant Monday. But SDF troops continued its task of pumping water into reactors whose cooling systems broke down, to prevent the reactor from overheating. SDF troops also carried on with their activity to disinfect local residents who may have been exposed to nuclear radiation.

The U.S. military has declared its intent to conduct major relief operations, involving eight transport helicopters from the Marines for humanitarian assistance support and two urban search and rescue teams, among others.

On Tuesday, no comment was available from the U.S. Forces Japan on whether the radiation crisis would affect the planned relief operations.

To donate to the American Red Cross text "RedCross" to 90999 or visit us online at

Monday, March 14, 2011

American Red Cross Responding to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami

The American Red Cross is offering assistance to the Japanese Red Cross following Friday’s magnitude 8.9 earthquake and resulting tsunami that left towns and villages in Japan devastated.

The earthquake triggered fires and caused severe damage to buildings, leaving five million households without electricity and 1 million without water. Early assessments indicate that more than 2,500 houses have collapsed completely, with 2,500 more damaged.

In addition, as part of preparations for the impact of the tsunami on Hawaii and the West Coast, the American Red Cross provided shelter and comfort to people forced to evacuate from their homes. Red Cross chapters in California, Oregon and Washington opened evacuation centers supporting more than 2,500 people seeking refuge from the tsunami waves. Warehouses and mobile feeding vehicles remain on alert in case they are needed.

Since early Friday morning, we have been in close contact with our colleagues in the Pacific region to offer our support and learn more about the humanitarian needs. The Japanese Red Cross has indicated that it would accept financial support from the American Red Cross for its role providing first aid, emotional support and relief items to those displaced.

On Sunday, the American Red Cross will deploy a disaster management expert from its Washington, DC headquarters to Japan for a week-long mission. She will serve on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross, which continues to lead the local earthquake and tsunami response.

To date, the Red Cross has not received any requests for blood from the Japanese Red Cross, the Japanese government or the United States State Department.

In the first 24 hours, the Japanese Red Cross dispatched 62 response teams. These medical relief teams – made up of about 400 doctors, nurses and support staff – are already providing assistance in affected areas through mobile medical clinics, as well as assessing the damage and needs of the communities affected.

More than 300,000 people who were evacuated before the tsunami struck have been housed in temporary centers set up in schools and public buildings where the Red Cross has distributed upwards of 30,000 blankets so far.

The damage caused to the Fukushima nuclear power plant has resulted in serious concerns. The Japanese Red Cross Society remains prepared to support those evacuated from the exclusion zone, and continues to closely monitor the situation.

“The Japanese Red Cross has diligently trained over the past decade, and are able to put their training into practice by assisting the affected people,” said Tadateru Konoé, president of the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Investments in early-warning systems and disaster preparedness and other training programs, including those from the American Red Cross following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, paid off in the Pacific Basin yesterday. Red Cross societies in Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Palau and Fiji, for example, undoubtedly saved lives by alerting and evacuating residents when the tsunami warnings sounded.

To respond to the needs of those concerned about relatives in the affected regions International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is encouraging those living overseas to make use of its restoring family links web page:

Those who want to help can go to and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Home Fires Destroy Memories Every 80 Seconds

The American Red Cross responds to fires more than any other disaster. More than hurricanes. Earthquakes. Tornadoes. Fires occur in the United States every 80 seconds.

In the Central Valley, disaster volunteers are called to home fires about three to four times a day on a normal day. They arrive on scene oftentimes while firefighters are still there, and they provide families with food, shelter, infant formula, teddy bears for the kids, access to medication… whatever the family needs to survive.

This relief is almost entirely delivered by volunteers and funded by donors.

When we arrive, more often than not, we encounter families who are grateful. Though they may have lost everything, they say “thank goodness” that their loved ones survived.

“Everything else can be replaced,” they say.

When a family survives a fire without deaths or injuries, they usually first think of their pictures – the memories that can’t be replaced. One of my most striking memories as a disaster volunteer was helping this family wipe away smoke damage from baby photos that we were relieved to find intact.

With a single click, you can capture a memory with your camera and keep it forever, but only, if your home is not one of the 70,000 that will burn this year.

Today, in a single click and in a matter of moments, you can join a movement on Facebook to honor those who aren’t so lucky.

Visit and get a glimpse of what it’s like to lose your most precious memories. At the end of your visit, all of your photos will be fully recovered.

At some point in your life, though, someone close you will lose their photos forever to a real fire and will not be able to recover them. Be a part of their relief, before they need it.

Share the experience with the people you love most.

Pledge a donation for every photo you can’t imagine life without.

Feel grateful.

Here's how your donation will help if you take the extra step to help a family that has been devestated by fire:
- $3 provides a comfort kit with hygiene items that preserves a client's diginity
- $5 provides a wool blanket to keep them warm if they are displaced
- $10 provides one meal
- $20 provides two meals
- $25 provides breakfast, lunch and dinner to a shelter resident who lost their home in a fire
- $50 provides five blankets for a family
- $75 provides food and shelter for a cleint for one day in a shelter
- $100 provides ten hot meals
- $150 provides supplies, such as soy formula, wipes, diapers, etc, to shelter one infant
- $200 provides one month's worth of emergency supplies for two families
- $1,000 saves the day - covers a day's worth of disaster response in the Central Valley Region.

The experience requires a high speed browser and internet connection, as well as Facebook connect permissions.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What In The World, Wednesday!

Welcome to What in the World, Wednesday! In which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...
LIBYA: ICRC teams have joined forces with Libyan doctors and nurses in east of country to treat people wounded in the fighting while other members of the global Red Cross/Red Crescent network coordinate to help those displaced by the fighting.
GAMBIA: The ICRC and Gambia Red Cross Society are providing more than 400 Senegalese refugees with three-month food rations, sleeping mats, clothing, soap and hygiene kits.
Côte d'Ivoire: The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire are distributing medical and other supplies to hundreds of people who have fled fighting.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Survivors of sexual violence often face further suffering through social exclusion. Using theater, dance and other methods, community members trained to provide psycho-social support by the ICRC encourage relatives and society to accept the survivors.