Tuesday, October 29, 2013

American Red Cross Relief Efforts Continue One Year After Sandy

WNY/Finger Lakes volunteers filled over 160 positions in response

A Red Cross volunteer assesses the damage in the Sea Gate
neighborhood near Coney Island
BUFFALO, NY, October 29, 2013 – The American Red Cross has released a one-year Superstorm Sandy report detailing its response and recovery work to help residents affected by this historic storm, which made landfall on October 29, 2012.

Initially, local Disaster Services staff and volunteers began mobilizing days earlier to prepare for a storm that was initially predicted to bring severe weather to the Western New York and Finger Lakes Regions. Once it became clear that this area had largely been spared, attention turned to helping the millions of people devastated by Sandy along the East Coast. Volunteers from the Western New York and Finger Lakes Regions helped fill over 160 positions in the relief efforts, with most local volunteers working in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey.

The One-Year Superstorm Sandy Report details the extraordinary measures taken by the Red Cross to respond to Sandy, from volunteer deployment and relief efforts to temporary and permanent housing assistance to key partnerships with government and non-government entities, as well as the strong outpouring of support from donors.

Red Cross clean up kits are distributed to residents in
Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood
The Red Cross met Sandy’s significant damage with its largest U.S. response in five years. More than 17,000 trained workers from all over the country – 90 percent of them volunteers, powered the massive emergency relief effort. This response included:
  •         Serving more than 17.5 million meals and snacks in a huge feeding operation.
  •        Handing out more than 7 million relief items such as cold weather items and clean-up supplies.
  •        Providing nearly 113,000 health services and emotional support contacts for people who have been living in very tough conditions.
  •        Providing 74,000 overall shelter stays for Sandy.

“Donations to the Red Cross have helped countless families start over in a new place to live, clean out the mold from their water-logged homes, or get much-needed financial and emotional support to rebuild their homes and lives,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. “The needs are still great, and there is more work to do. We are committed to continue working with the communities that were impacted by this devastating storm to provide services and support.”

RECOVERY EFFORTS ONGOING Even as its emergency relief work was occurring, the Red Cross began to help people in the long recovery process that continues today. Trained Red Cross workers are meeting with those in need, providing case management and financial assistance to help with security and utility deposits, home repairs and rent as well as linking them to available social service programs.

Western New York and Finger Lakes Regional CEO Nancy Blaschak served as Interim Director of the Long Term Recovery Project in New York City and Long Island at the beginning of 2013. The Red Cross has worked together with government and community partners at every step to provide assistance to those that need it most. In addition, the Red Cross has given $60 million in grants to a number of nonprofits working in New Jersey and New York to help people with home repairs, mold remediation, food, financial assistance and financial counseling, and to support the work of community roundtables to help address unmet needs.

THANK YOU The work of the Red Cross is possible because of the compassion and generosity of the American public, and the Red Cross already has spent or made commitments to spend $280 million, more than 90 percent of the $308 million donated for Sandy. The Red Cross expects to use the biggest share of the remaining money to help people with a range of housing-related expenses, support community resiliency programs and give more grants to community non-profit partners to help Sandy survivors.

“We are grateful for the generosity of donors across the nation who continually make it possible for the Red Cross to respond to once-in-a-generation disasters like Sandy, as well as the 70,000 disasters we confront each year,” McGovern said.

The report and other information on the Red Cross Sandy relief and recovery efforts can be found at www.redcross.org/sandy-response.

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