The full extent of the impact is still unknown but Hurricane Sandy has been devastating for our region. Homes have been destroyed and lives have been lost. Our thoughts are with our neighbors who have lost so much, including many of our dedicated disaster workers.
The American Red Cross continues to provide safe shelter for residents. Last night, more than 2,000 residents sought shelter with us in our region and we expect that number to grow, as there are widespread power outages, damaged homes and flooded neighborhoods.
It is important that New Yorkers stay safe and only leave their homes if they need to, to keep the roads clear for cleanup crews and emergency responders. If you must leave your home, avoid flooded areas as they can hide hazards like downed wires, debris and sewage.
For those who may seek refuge in a shelter, bring items to help keep you comfortable, like a pillow, change of clothes, hygiene items, and medications.
This is a large disaster with an even larger footprint. Nearly 11,000 people spent Monday night in 258 Red Cross shelters in 16 states – New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Indiana, Michigan.
We are in close contact with our partners in emergency management on the local, state and federal levels. After the danger passes, our damage assessment teams will help determine the needs of our communities. Hundreds of Red Cross disaster responders and response vehicles are on the way from outside of our region. With these vehicles, we will be able to deliver meals and cleanup items to affected communities.
In addition to the immediate impacts of the storm, the response to incidents like fires has been hampered by the weather. As conditions allow, the Red Cross, working with first responders, will do all it can to ensure that New Yorkers are cared for.
Because of the size of this disaster, the Red Cross is seeking volunteers to assist. Those wishing to volunteer should be in good health, and be available for assignment—throughout the region—to work 12-hour shifts, for multiple days. Training will be afforded. To volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help is on the way but we need New Yorkers to remain calm and patient as we are all in this together. In coming days, we will need their help. For information, including locations of shelters or how to donate, please visit visit www.redcross.org/donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to get prepared and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.