The American Red Cross today issued a progress report on its efforts over the past month to provide food, water, shelter, relief supplies, healthcare and other assistance to people affected by Superstorm Sandy.
"During this first month, the Red Cross has provided emergency relief to many people affected by Superstorm Sandy. But there is still much work to be done, and we will continue to provide help and hope for weeks and months to come," said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. "This is our biggest U.S. disaster response in more than five years, and we are incredibly grateful for the generous support across the country that has enabled us to help the survivors of this storm."
Hurricane Sandy was a major storm that impacted an area the size of Europe. The Red Cross mobilized more than 14,400 trained disaster workers to date - 90 percent of them volunteers - to help people affected by the storm. Today, nearly 3,000 workers are still on the job, providing food, water, shelter and relief supplies. The Red Cross has also deployed more than 300 of its emergency response vehicles and is also utilizing rental cars, trucks and other vehicles to help.
In the first month since Sandy hit, the Red Cross provided almost 79,000 shelter stays for Sandy, part of an overall shelter response that provided more than 153,000 shelter stays. The Red Cross has also:
• provided more than 7.4 million meals and snacks through its partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention to people affected by Sandy in New York and New Jersey.
• distributed more than 5.2 million relief items including cold weather items like coats and blankets and supplies to help people as they begin the massive clean-up of their neighborhoods.
• provided more than 86,000 health services and mental health contacts for people who have been living in very tough conditions.
The Red Cross response dealt with the unusual cold weather hurricane. Sandy was followed by a nor'easter that dumped snow and brought frigid temperatures to people struggling without power, and the Red Cross supplies included more Red Cross blankets, gloves and hand-warmers.
The Red Cross has raised nearly $170 million to date for Sandy and estimates that it will spend $110 million on the emergency relief through the end of December. Any funds donated for Sandy beyond what is needed for emergency relief will be put to use serving the long-term needs of those affected by this disaster. The Red Cross is already working with communities to determine unmet needs and how they can be met-something which will continue into the recovery process.
The Red Cross is developing specific plans that will inÂ¬clude a comprehensive needs assessment of the affected comÂ¬munities and individuals; plans that will identify resources available from both the Red Cross and other organizations. Recognizing that each community will have different needs, and different groups working to meet them, the role of the Red Cross will be determined by these local needs. What's crucial is that there is community collaboration and cooperation to ensure that longer-term help reaches people who need it.