Johnstown Flood - Research Paper Example

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Name of the of the Concerned Professor History and Political Science 5 May 2012 Johnstown Flood Johnstown flood indeed happened to be one of the utterly moving and eye opening American disasters that tested the American preparedness in the wake of manmade natural disasters on 31 May 1889…
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Johnstown Flood
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Download file to see previous pages It goes without saying that the Johnstown Flood was both a human and economic tragedy. More than 2,200 Americans were killed in this flood and it caused a huge economic damage amounting to $17 million (Foote 94). One peculiar thing about Johnstown Flood was that it turned out to be the first of its kind disaster relief operation that was handled by the American Red Cross, under the leadership of Clara Barton. Not to mention that the support for these relief operation emanated from across the United States of America and many foreign countries. International Red Cross to begin with was essentially meant to be a battlefield relief organization that was designed to provide help and relief to the victims of wars (Ritter 15). The American Red Cross in consonance with the spirit of its parent organization, also primarily intended to be a war relief organization (Ritter 15). The founder of the American Red Cross that is Clara Barton though had some experience in the battlefield relief operations during the American Civil War, it was her heartfelt belief that the American Red Cross could also evolve to be a major instrument of help during the peace time catastrophes and disasters (Ritter 15). In that sense the Johnstown flood came as an opportunity for the American Red Cross to extend help, aid and relief to the victims of an unprecedented peace time disaster. Thereby, the role played by Clara Barton in these relief operations does deserve a salient mention. The 67 year old founder of the American Red Cross determinedly rushed to the scene of disaster, once she came to know of it (Burton 118). She not only helped organize the requisite supplies and material donations, but also beckoned the friends, acquaintances and the citizens of America to accompany her in this relief cause (Burton 118). As it happens in most of the relief operations, the American Red Cross did not act alone to extend relief and help. Before Barton and her crew arrived on the scene, a group of dedicated Johnstown residents had already initiated a relief operation intended at taking care of a number of local necessities like clean up and repairs, food distribution, restoring the local government, arranging the necessary supplies, etc (Douglas 336). Help and funds poured in from various sectors and voluntary organizations like citizen groups, The Children’s Aid Society, Yellow Cross, and foreign relief organizations (Douglas 336). The primary contribution of the American Red Cross was that it extended the emergency relief and help to the impacted people, before more permanent and elaborate relief distribution could be initiated and organized by the government and voluntary organizations. The role played by the American Red Cross was not merely limited to the immediate aftermath of this disaster, but rather happened to be prolonged, dealing with the provision of shelter and household supplies to the victims (Johnstown Flood Museum 1). Going by the fact that at the time of Johnstown Flood, the American Red Cross was not the exclusive local chapter of the International Red Cross, the organization did much to help and aid the survivors of this disaster (Johnstown Flood Museum 1). It helped nearly 25,000 people and distributed goods and supplies worth $211,000 (Johnstown Flood Museum 1). The American Red Cross also built the Red Cross Hotels that sheltered large ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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