WASHINGTON, DC - Thousands of American Red Cross disaster workers are providing aid and comfort to people affected by Superstorm Sandy.
Shelters are open across multiple states and feeding operations are ramping up as communities become accessible.
"We know this is a very difficult and frustrating time for people who have lost their homes, are displaced or don't have power," said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. "The Red Cross is doing everything possible to get help quickly to those affected. We are providing aid and comfort to people right now, and our focus today is on ramping up a massive feeding operation to get hot meals to people in places such as Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island and New Jersey."
HELP ON THE WAY More than 7,000 people spent Wednesday night in 115 Red Cross shelters in several states â New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Ohio, and the District of Columbia. Red Cross disaster workers have already served nearly 164,700 meals. More than 334,000 ready to eat meals are in the area and 12 mobile kitchens capable of making 198,000 meals a day have been deployed.
Roads and airports are opening and more disaster workers, vehicles and relief supplies will be arriving in the affected areas. The Red Cross has mobilized more than 3,300 disaster workers and more than two-thirds of the entire Red Cross fleet of response vehicles is beginning to distribute meals, water and snacks in some areas. Trailers full of relief supplies have also been deployed to help people as they begin to clean up their homes.
The Mexican Red Cross is deploying 10 delegates to support American Red Cross health services activities in New York in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The delegates will focus on providing health care and first aid services and referrals for clients in Red Cross shelters and emergency aid stations. This is not the first time the Mexican Red Cross has supported disaster operations, having deployed volunteers for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the San Diego Wildfires in 2007, Hurricane Ike in 2008, and most recently Hurricane Isaac in September 2012.
HOW TO HELP The Red Cross has a massive response to Sandy underway that spans multiple states. "The people in this country have always been wonderful when it comes to helping others. The Red Cross needs their support again as we help people affected by this devastating storm," Shimanski said.
People can make a financial donation in support of Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone's local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD Nearly 360 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled due to the storm, representing a loss of as many as 12,000 blood and platelet products. The Red Cross is asking people who are eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, to schedule a blood donation now.
To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood, people can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.
LET LOVED ONES KNOW People can let their loved ones know how they are okay by using the "I'm Safe" button on the Red Cross Hurricane App, or registering on the Red Cross Safe and Well website.
The Hurricane App, which also contains safety tips on what people should do after the storm, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. To register on Safe and Well, people can visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
RED CROSS SHELTERS To find a Red Cross shelter, people can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit the Red Cross web site, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check local media outlets.