Red Cross: More aid rendered in 2017 than last 4 years combined

From hurricanes and earthquakes to mass shootings and massive wildfires, it was a busy year for the American Red Cross. The disaster relief organization said on Thursday that it delivered more aid in 2017 than the previous four years combined. 

The Red Cross said that in a span of 45 days, the organization provided disaster relief in response to four major hurricanes, a massive wildfire in California and the deadly Las Vegas mass shooting.

All told, so far in 2017, the American Red Cross has responded to 242 "significant" disasters, using a workforce of 52,000 employees and volunteers. And the Red Cross said that 2017 remains active as a major wildfire threatens the Los Angeles area going into the second week of December. 

Here are some of the statistics the Red Cross provided about its disaster relief efforts in 2017:

  • Opening 1,100 emergency shelters to provide 658,000 overnight stays 
  • Serving 13.6 million meals and snacks 
  • Distributing 7 million relief items 
  • Providing 267,000 health and mental health consultations 
  • Supporting 624,000 households with recovery assistance

While the Red Cross provides disaster relief for major catastrophes, it also said it delivered aid to 76,000 families following house fires. 

But 2017 didn't come without controversy for the organization, as the Red Cross came under scrutiny for its response to past major disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti. The Red Cross responded by saying that 92 percent of its funding is used in direct disaster relief.

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