The American Red Cross: Delivering Services and Working with Partners in the USA and Around the World



The faces of human suffering have captivated the headlines and the evening news in recent years, with a frequency and severity that has grabbed the world’s attention, and the major causes are equally shocking and familiar. In 2004, it was the tsunami. In 2005, it was Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Rita and the earthquake in Pakistan. In 2006, wildfires, storms, and tornadoes raced across the USA. In 2007, it was the earthquake in Peru and a cyclone in Bangladesh. And in 2008, it was cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and the earthquake in southwest China. There are also more routine, yet smaller fires, floods, tornadoes, droughts, and countless other disasters that suddenly destroy the lives that many have worked so hard to build. When these small- and large-scale disasters occur, humanitarian organizations rush in to provide shelter (albeit often temporary), water, food, clothing, psychological assistance, and other means of relief to survivors. According to the Center for Research on the Epide­miology of Disasters (CRED), these organizations are busier than ever before, because natural disasters are increasing. From 1988 to 1998 there were on average less than 300 major disasters around the world every year. Between 1998 and 2007 that number rose to an average of more than 400 every year (Scheuren et al. 2008). At the end of this chapter we will discuss some of the trends that are contributing to this increase, but first, the challenge for humanitarian organizations responding to disasters or health emergencies is how to continue to respond effectively to a growing humanitarian need when resources are stretched thin. The key is to rely on the synergistic effect of partnerships.


National Society Disaster Response Humanitarian Organization Sanitation System Relief Supply 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. American Red Cross (ARC) (2005) Tsunami recovery program: one-year report. The American National Red Cross, Washington, DC. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  2. ——— (2006a) A year of healing: The American Red Cross Response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  3. ——— (2006b) Tsunami recovery program strategic plan 2006–2010. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  4. ——— (2007a) 2007 Congressional Charter of the American National Red Cross, May 2007, Page 2; 36 U.S.C. §§300101–300111 recodified. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  5. ——— (2007b) Scaling-up together we can: a proven peer education program and community mobilization strategy for youth HIV prevention. 5 Nov 2007Google Scholar
  6. Bates BC, Kundzewicz ZW, Wu S, Palutikof JP (eds) (2008) Climate change and water. Technical paper of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, IPCC Secretariat, Geneva, 210 pp. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2008) Progress in global measles control and mortality reduction, 2000–2007. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 57(48):1303–1306. Accessed 5 Dec 2008
  8. Christie A (2008) In: Feig C (ed) Interview with Athalia ChristieGoogle Scholar
  9. Gertner I (2008) In: Feig C (ed) Interview with Ilisa GertnerGoogle Scholar
  10. Global Humanitarian Platform (GHP) (2007) Principles of partnership: a statement of commitment. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  11. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (2007) World disasters report – focus on discrimination. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  12. ——— (2008) World disasters report 2008: focus on HIV and AIDS. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  13. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) (2006) Report on the global AIDS epidemic. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  14. Kleinberg R (2008) Tara’s dance: upstaging measles one performance at a time: dance recital provides an ideal opportunity to educate friends and family about the Measles Initiative. American Red Cross. 19 Oct 2008Google Scholar
  15. Measles Initiative (2008a) Measles Initiative fact sheet. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  16. ——— (2008b) Measles Initiative home page. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  17. O’Ryon G (2008) In: Feig C (ed) Interview with Gregg O’RyonGoogle Scholar
  18. Ostwald S, Runge A (2004) Volunteers speak out: motivations for volunteering. J Volunt Adm 22(1):5–11Google Scholar
  19. Perrin P (ed) (1996) War and public health. ICRC, Geneva, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  20. Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre (2007) Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Guide. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  21. Riley L, Ko A, Unger A, Mitermayer G (2007) Slum health: diseases of neglected populations. BMC Int Health Hum Rights 7:2Google Scholar
  22. Scheuren J, le Polain de Waroux O, Below R, Guha-Sapir D, Ponserre S (2008) CRED annual disaster statistical review: the numbers and trends 2007.$file/Full_Report.pdf?openelement. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  23. UN Population Fund (UNFPA) (2007) State of the world population 2007: unleashing the potential of urban growth. Accessed 1 Nov 2008
  24. United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2004) World population to 2300. United Nations, New York. Accessed 1 Nov 2008

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.

Personalised recommendations