Red Cross requests aid after year of disaster

Workers filed out of downtown buildings following the Aug. 23 earthquake. (WTOP)

Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON — Following an unprecedented year of disaster both nationally and in the D.C. area, the American Red Cross is itself looking for relief through increased financial help.

There were 137 major incidents for the Red Cross around the country this year, including earthquakes, tornadoes and floods.

The organization had one night during Hurricane Irene where they had 27,000 people in shelters, spokeswoman Laura Howe says.

“We served 6.7 million meals to people who needed it. It was a very busy year, much more so than 2010,” says Howe.

The National Capitol region was not immune. Spokeswoman Cheryl Kravitz says they handled an unprecedented 614 families in 2011.

The local Red Cross had spent $2.7 million on smaller operations even before Hurricane Irene, the flooding from Tropical Storm Lee and the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in August.

“After Tropical Storm Lee, the Red Cross sheltered hundreds of individuals in Prince William County,” says Kravitz.

The local chapter set up 17 shelters in 2011 and served more than 17,000 meals.

That includes help for some Prince George’s County residents, whose apartment complex was damaged by the earthquake Aug. 23, and hundreds of Prince William County residents flooded out of the Holly Acres Trailer Park after Tropical Storm Lee in September. Kravitz says some of the flood victims required help for three weeks.

All this has prompted the agency to ask for more cash.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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