United States

Service to Humanity

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The worst flood in 19th-century America, the Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania was caused by a dam failure in 1889. Clara Barton, who had founded the American Red Cross in 1881, arrived in Johnstown with 50 volunteer doctors, nurses and aid workers, and stayed for five months. Barton and her volunteers fed flood victims, provided medical care and helped locate the bodies of over 2,000 people who were killed in the flood. To house the thousands left destitute by the disaster, Barton arranged for the construction of several hotels and thousands of homes.

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