Support During Disasters

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Storm damage in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, from the “Ash Wednesday Storm” 1962, Nabb Research Center, Orlando Wootten collection, 1995.005

One of the core peacetime functions of the Red Cross is natural disaster relief, which local volunteers have assisted with both on Delmarva and across the world. From housefires to hurricanes, floods to winter storms, the Red Cross of Delmarva has provided disaster recovery assistance locally for decades. When disaster strikes anywhere, local volunteers have answered the call to help on the frontlines or raise funds for relief efforts.

While there have been many storms on Delmarva requiring recovery assistance from the Red Cross, two years’ storms were especially damaging: 1933 and 1962. In August 1933, the Chesapeake-Potomac hurricane wreaked havoc on Chesapeake Bay islands and coastal communities, especially Ocean City. At the time, the Red Cross raised funds to help with recovery. Later, in March 1962, the “Ash Wednesday Storm” caused destruction along Delmarva’s Atlantic Coast, killing approximately 40 people, injuring 1,200, and requiring 5,000 families to seek assistance from the Red Cross.

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Red Cross Roll Call announcement, Salisbury Daily Times, November 11, 1925

Disaster relief has not come without its troubles for the Red Cross, though. During a hurricane evacuation in 1993, Ocean City officials criticized and questioned the Lower Shore Chapter for its failed coordination with the city and Worcester County. Later, in 2005, the American National Red Cross was criticized for failing to meet the basic needs of those affected by Hurricane Katrina. However, the Delmarva Chapter was nationally recognized for its volunteer response and donations in assisting with recovery on the Gulf Coast.

Support During Disasters