The Iowa chapter of the American Red Cross is wrapping up a busy 2013. It was a year of deadly tornadoes, fierce wildfires, and destructive floods around the United States.

The regional communication officer for the Red Cross, Kara Kelly, says nearly 1,600 Iowans volunteered to help recovery efforts. “We sent a pretty large number of people, 21 volunteers, to the flooding in Colorado in the fall and we sent about 16 people to central and southern Illinois to assist with the tornadoes that happened in October,” Kelly says.

However, most of the volunteer efforts take place within Iowa assisting people displaced by house fires. “Normally what we do is attend to immediate needs, so generally it’s lodging, food, and clothing right away, then we’ll have a Red Cross caseworker meet with the family in the next couple of days and go over what a recovery plan would be,” Kelly says. The Red Cross responded to more than 400 house fires in the state during 2013.