Americas Floods

Note: The following appeal is now closed.  You can support our ongoing work by donating to the Canadian Red Cross

Beginning in October, 2008, heavy rains caused damage and devastation throughout the Americas. The Red Cross Movement is working together to support affected families.

Central America

Flooding and landslides have left a wake of devastation in Central America. Countries most affected include Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua  and Panama.

Tens of thousands of people have been affected and many are seeking refuge in emergency shelters. Fears of additional landslides and overflowing rivers are a major concern. Damage to homes, infrastructure, crops and livestock is heavy and many areas are facing blackouts and lack of clean water. Some remote coastal areas are currently inaccessible by road, challenging relief efforts.

With some 130,000 people displaced by the floods and mudslides in Honduras alone, the government has declared a state of emergency and the Red Cross has mobilized all its teams.

South America

Heavy flooding and landslides in Brazil have resulted in 54,000 people displaced and 84 deaths. Brazilian Red Cross volunteers are providing assistance to affected people and an in-country fundraising campaign has been launched. The International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies has sent $170,000 to support relief efforts underway in affected communities. 

No other international assistance has been requested and therefore the Canadian Red Cross is not appealing for donations for Brazil at this time. However, those wishing to help may mark their donations “International Federation Emergency Disaster Relief Fund”, which will go towards replenishing the $170,000 that was sent by the International Federation to Brazil.

The Canadian Red Cross remains on standby to provide support as needed.

Red Cross Response

National Red Cross Societies, working closely with the authorities, have deployed hundreds of volunteers and staff to distribute emergency assistance to thousands of affected families.

The International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies has provided financial support and sent several disaster management delegates from its Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU), based in Panama, to bring immediate support to relief operations throughout the region.

“Red Cross volunteers and staff have been working around the clock distributing food, water, clothing, hygiene articles and other necessities to flood victims,” says Jean-Pierre Taschereau, a Canadian disaster management delegate currently on mission with PADRU.

The needs of those affected throughout the Americas are great. The Canadian Red Cross is appealing to the Canadian public for donations to support relief operations already underway. Please donate now and your contribution will be rapidly turned into vital relief to the many families affected by flooding.

Canadians are encouraged to contribute by donating online, calling 1-800-418-1111 or contacting their local Red Cross office. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked “Americas Floods” and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 400 Cooper Street, Suite 8000, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2H8. All donations to “Americas Floods” will be used to support the most vulnerable areas in the Americas.

In-kind donations of food, clothing and other items, while well intentioned, are not the best way to help those in need. There are tremendous processing and transportation costs involved in shipping these items to beneficiaries. Local purchases of food and clothing are more culturally appropriate and effective. Red Cross supplies can be purchased in the immediate area, thereby reducing transportation costs. Cash transfers to the affected region provide the optimum flexibility to our Red Cross colleagues so they can meet the most urgent needs.