The American Red Cross is continuing a major relief operation to assist people affected by the hurricane which has recently passed through the Caribbean before hitting the eastern seaboard of the USA. Millions woke this morning to power outages, fallen trees, scattered debris, and flooded neighborhoods and the organization is working hard to get help where it is needed. The death toll in the US from the superstorm has risen to 35.
Nearly 11,000 people spent Monday night in more than 250 Red Cross shelters across 16 states including New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina and Milwaukee with heavy wind, rain and snow.
“Our first priority is to get people the help they need – providing families and individuals with a safe place to stay, and food to eat,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the American Red Cross. “While it is too early to know the full extent of Sandy’s damage, we expect to be working with a variety of partners to help people for the next several weeks.”
The American Red Cross has mobilized 1,700 disaster workers from all over the country who have served more than 25,000 meals and snacks so far. 167 response vehicles have been activated and shipped in more than 230,000 ready-to-eat meals. The organization is working closely with multiple partners including a variety of civic groups, advocacy organizations, professionals and churches to share their expertise and volunteers.
“The American Red Cross response to Sandy is very large and will be very costly, affecting a massive area spanning much of the eastern half of the country,” Shimanski said.
In areas hit by this storm, the American Red Cross urges people to check on their neighbors, make sure everyone is okay, and take care of each other until help arrives. Everyone should follow the direction of their local officials during this disaster – evacuate if told to do so, stay in a safe place and off the roads until the storm is over, and do not return home until officials say it is okay.
Hurricane Sandy’s passage through the Caribbean has caused devastation across the region, with significant damage reported in Jamaica and 52 dead and 200,000 left homeless in Haiti.