Watch CBS News

Red Cross seeing surge in large disasters over the past decade

Red Cross seeing surge in large disasters over the past decade
Red Cross seeing surge in large disasters over the past decade 03:12

CHICAGO (CBS) -- When flooding hit Chicago and several surrounding suburbs this summer, the Red Cross was there to help victims recover.

Red Cross volunteers worked with community partners to help residents in some of the hardest hit areas; including in the town of Cicero, where they handed out more than 1,000 containers of cleaning and hygiene products.

Severe weather can threaten at a moment's notice, and as CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports, the cost of disasters is only increasing.

So far this year, Illinois has had 135 confirmed tornados, the most of every state in the country. But tornadoes weren't the only severe weather event to hit this year.

Flash flooding like we haven't seen in years hit the Chicago area in July. Summer floods left streets and basements underwater on the city's South and West sides, and across the southern and western suburbs.

"It completely wiped out everything," Austin resident Nikita Bailey said. "All I seen was a high amount of dirty water, and I just seen things floating and just sailing around the basement."

On top of that, smoke from wildfires in Canada brought some of the worst air quality in the world to Chicago in June.

Already this year, there have been 23 billion-dollar disasters in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, compared to 18 such disasters in 2022.

The cost of natural disasters will continue to go up as climate change makes such disasters more extreme.

From tornados to hurricanes and wildfires, Red Cross volunteers are now responding to nearly twice as many large disasters as they did a decade ago – providing housing, food, and cleanup supplies in the aftermath of the disaster.

"The disasters that we're seeing are more complex in nature. Many of the areas that are impacted are being impacted time and time again," Red Cross regional disaster officer Adam Runkle said. "So we are adapting to that by increasing our readiness levels, by recruiting more volunteers who empower our mission, and also by seeking more donations to be able to fund our mission."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.