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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Shame on the Red Cross

    Shame on the Red Cross: How the Relief Group Failed on Sandy Relief
    Nov 28, 2012 12:52 PM EST

    For weeks since Sandy volunteers have been helping out in the Rockaways, but the Red Cross, who raised $150 million on the storm, has hardly been seen. Michelle Manning wants to know where the organization has been.


    Four weeks after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of New York, the biggest unanswered question is: where has the American Red Cross been? On Nov. 2, The New York Times reported on the “growing anger at the Red Cross response to the storm.” As one of thousands of volunteers working in the Rockaways in the weeks that have followed, I can say that the evidence of my own eyes, confirmed by many of my fellow volunteers and by the leaders of the local relief effort, is that whatever the Red Cross may say, its response has continued to be lamentable.


    Day after day, week after week, the American Red Cross was, quite literally, nowhere to be found. Yet it has raised more than $150 million for Sandy relief alone. That $150 million, or even a part of it, could have transformed the relief effort in the Rockaways. People in the worst-hit areas are asking: where, when, and how has the money been spent?







    For 14 days after the hurricane, I worked all over the Rockaways. I was in Belle Harbor, at St. Francis de Sales handing out supplies. I evacuated people from their homes during the nor’easter, and literally pulled families, some with babies, out of the snow that night as they tried to walk to shelter. I worked at 14th and Seagirt in the NYCHA houses, the Community Center at Beach 57th Street, the Projects at Beach 89th Street, and the Mott Street Library. I delivered kosher meals to homebound Orthodox seniors in homes without electricity or heat on 19th and Seagirt, as they sat hungry and alone trapped 21 stories high. I worked at Veggie Corner, a popular beach hangout for surfers before the storm that became a full makeshift commissary for supplies and food, and helped out at PS197 on Hicksville and 8th. I brought flashlights, food, diapers, coats to those in need, I begged, borrowed, and hustled to get the critical supplies that people needed, waited hours for gasoline like everyone else, and this effort—by thousands like myself—was how the communities were saved and fed.


    I only saw Red Cross vehicles twice in two weeks.


    The first time there were two white vans. Dazzlingly white. (Most of the relief vehicles, including my own, were filthy and battered. This has been dirty work.) They weren’t at work. They weren’t handing out supplies. They were waiting for Governor Cuomo. For a photo-op.


    The only other time, coincidentally, or not coincidentally, was the day before President Obama was in the New York area. This vehicle was a white Prius, clean and sparkling as a new engagement ring. It wasn’t distributing supplies either.


    That night, I was told, the Red Cross was handing out hot dogs somewhere. I never saw them. I do know that Red Cross workers asked volunteers for water to hand out, because they didn’t have any themselves—$150 million should buy a few bottles of water.



    We have been told that it was difficult for Red Cross vehicles to get gas, and when they got some they got stuck in traffic, etc. All relief workers had the same problems. And yet we got there. Thousands of New Yorkers helping New Yorkers, and some who came from all over the country. We, the people, saved our people. We managed to get gas, and supplies, and distributed them. We sat in the same traffic, sometimes taking as long as three hours to get home. Some of us slept in school gymnasiums, or in abandoned houses in sleeping bags. We worked with local councilmen, school principals, teachers, pastors, community leaders, first-responder rebuilders, residents and volunteers, and everyone said the same thing as Councilman James Sanders’s chief of staff, Donovan Richards, in the middle of an office that was drowning in donated supplies, but bereft of electricity and heat: “The Red Cross? They have been absolutely nowhere. We are the Red Cross.”


    This is worse than inadequate. This is not merely “dropping the ball.” To raise all that money and then be invisible on the ground at the time of the greatest need looks very much like fraud.


    That is why I, along with others in the vanguard of the relief effort, am asking that the Attorney General open a formal inquiry into the American Red Cross. Similar concerns surfaced after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and disasters in Haiti. The Red Cross owes everyone who trusts it with their money complete transparency. Every dollar should be accounted for.


    I want to ask the American Red Cross: where exactly were you in the Rockaways and when? Were you on some magical street handing out cupcakes that only certain people with special I.D.s and unicorns were allowed to pass through? I didn’t have access to that area, and neither did the thousands of hungry residents that I met. I demand some answers. The American people deserve some answers. Or their money back.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...dy-relief.html
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
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    American Red Cross Carries On With Hurricane Sandy Recovery After Being Branded A 'Disgrace'

    NEW YORK -- It happened after the 9/11 terror attacks, after Hurricane Katrina and now, once again, after Superstorm Sandy: The American Red Cross takes flak for its response to a major disaster.

    It's a burden that comes with being the nation's largest private relief agency, and the Red Cross' pride in its work is constantly coupled with promises to do better next time.

    "We expect people to have high expectations of us," said Gail McGovern, the Red Cross president since 2008. "It keeps us on our toes."

    In the case of Sandy, which spanned 1,000 miles and killed more than 100 people in 10 states, the criticism flared in hard-hit New York City a few days after the storm, most notably in a televised outburst Thursday by the top elected official on flooding-ravaged Staten Island.

    "Do not donate to the Red Cross," said Borough President James Molinaro, who termed the agency's response at that stage "an absolute disgrace." He and other critics felt the Red Cross was slow to get its emergency response vehicles into stricken areas and to open its mobile kitchens.

    By the next day, Molinaro was hugging McGovern at a joint appearance, commending her organization's intensified efforts and attributing his earlier diatribe to anger and frustration over the plight of his constituents.

    Meanwhile, Red Cross fundraising for Sandy-related relief has surged, with backing from the National Football League, a star-studded benefit concert on NBC and numerous other sources. As of Sunday afternoon, the charity reported $85 million in donations for its response to Sandy, with the amount rising each day.

    Nonetheless, the brief flurry of criticism was an emphatic reminder that the Red Cross, with its iconic name and its recent series of controversies, is a lightning rod in a way that other relief agencies are not.

    "They're always the ones under the microscope," said Major George Hood of the Salvation Army, which considers itself a partner of the Red Cross during times of disaster even as it competes with them for donors' dollars.

    McGovern acknowledged that the initial response to Sandy in the New York region went slower than hoped, and she expressed understanding for Molinaro's criticism.

    "His constituents are cold, frightened. They're without power, they're frustrated," she said. "We were frustrated, too. I wish I could have clicked my fingers and gotten all the supplies and trucks and volunteers there faster."

    The first batch of Red Cross trucks reached Staten Island on Thursday, three days after the storm and just before Molinaro's outburst. McGovern attributed the delay largely to badly snarled traffic and road closures in the region.

    Josh Lockwood, CEO of the Red Cross of greater New York, said he and his colleagues would eventually conduct an in-depth review of the response to Sandy to assess what went right and wrong as lessons for future disasters. For now, though, he said ongoing relief efforts made any such assessment impossible.

    "After the disaster relief is done, I will look back at our whole operation," Lockwood said. "If we could be one minute faster, we will see what changes we can make."

    After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Red Cross was criticized for its handling of donations – a controversy that contributed to a change in leadership and new policies for earmarking donations.

    The agency encountered withering criticism once again – some from within its own ranks – after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. An internal report cited overwhelmed volunteers, inflexible attitudes and inadequate anti-fraud measures.

    One major change since then is a greater focus on getting relief supplies into threatened areas before a hurricane arrives. But this pre-positioning had its limits with the response to a storm as vast as Sandy.

    "We never put personnel or supplies in the path of a hurricane. You have to come in after the fact," Lockwood said. "That did present challenges in this case."

    In fact, he said his staff moved some supplies out of the city before Sandy's arrival, as a precaution against storm damage.

    By Wednesday, two days after the storm, the local Red Cross realized that the scope of the disaster would require large-scale assistance from outside the city. But at that point, a host of logistical problems made it difficult to expedite deliveries overland. Only by Thursday and Friday did the stream of relief goods and vehicles pick up speed, Lockwood said.

    The agency now has 70 emergency response vehicles in New York City, each carrying 1,000 pounds of food, water and supplies. They supplied about 128,000 meals on Saturday, he said.

    "Every major disaster is different from one another," Lockwood said. "The magnitude of Sandy was so broad, so deep, so severe, with millions of people affected, that no single agency could address the challenges."

    "Perhaps we are a bit of a target, because of our brand," he added. "My colleagues and I are so proud to be affiliated with this organization and this mission. If we're going to take our lumps, that's part of being in the disaster-relief business."

    One of the other relief agencies responding to Sandy, Save the Children, became sufficiently frustrated with logistical problems that it resorted to Twitter to seek help.

    "We can't reach many kids affected by Sandy due to lack of gas," it said in a Twitter message Saturday, asking its followers to relay the message to the governors of New York and New Jersey.

    Save the Children's CEO, Carolyn Miles, was visiting displaced families Sunday at a Red Cross shelter in Atlantic City. In a telephone interview, she said the Red Cross had indeed become a lightning rod for second-guessing.

    "Are they supplying people with what they need? Yes, they are," Miles said. "Could things be better? Yes, there are always things that could be better ... but there are people here who don't have other places to go who are being taken care of."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/1...n_2073855.html

  3. #3
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    I personally know people who have and are working with the Red Cross in this disaster, I am a volunteer trainer of personnel to work disasters for the RC

    there are people from all over the country working.....sadly some people do NOT understand the Red Cross mission and policies for putting their people in disaster situations and with every damn disaster we get this from well meaning but mis informed people

    the Red Cross is chartered by the US Gov to provide assistance in the aftermath of disasters and every bit of money raised specifically for the Sandy relief effort will go to Sandy relief in ways such as:
    immediately providing shelters,
    assistance for first responders,
    mobile meals,
    CAC cards for groceries and replacement of clothing
    , replacement of medicines lost in the disaster,
    medical assistance
    psychological support
    clean up supplies,
    temporary housing,
    vouchers for deposits on permanent housing,
    new matresses, refrigerators etc.

    assistance in these types of disasters can last for months and even ( in a couple of cases I know of) years

    how about this video titled "The Rockaways give thanks"
    http://www.examiner.com/video/the-rockaways-give-thanks
    Last edited by Daisy Hill; 11.30.12 at 10:47 AM.

    survivor of the Bowling Green Massacre 9-3-2016 BGSU 10 OSU 77

    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

  4. #4
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    Red Cross slammed for Hurricane Sandy relief

    In the employee parking lot of Resorts World Casino, dozens of American Red Cross disaster relief vehicles sit idle or buzz around the white tents and work vans that fill up the space along Rockaway Boulevard.

    But while their presence there is apparent, where they have not been seen much are the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, according to residents of those neighborhoods.

    Citizens and officials in the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach were left wondering where the Red Cross was in the first few days after the storm and that has local officials incensed.

    “Maybe instead of running TV ads asking for money, American Red Cross should be helping my constituents. I wouldn’t give them a dime,” said an angry Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) on Twitter last week.

    Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway) described the Red Cross’ response as an “absolute failure.”

    “It’s just an utter disappointment,” he said. “They’re great at their promotional materials and self-promotion, but this is the first time I saw their response on the ground and it was horrific.”

    He said the Red Cross was not on the ground in the Rockaways until a week after the storm — two days after it raised $23 million from a celebrity-hosted national telethon for the survivors of Hurricane Sandy.

    “I did not see a presence until day 6 or 7,” he explained. “When it came to helping people, they just weren’t here.”

    Goldfeder acknowledged that he met with Red Cross officials three days after the storm to discuss relief efforts, but said it was at least three more days after that when he started seeing them in the neighborhoods affected. He said the Red Cross officials had told him they would be on the ground 24 to 36 hours after that meeting.

    “Until they came, it was neighbor helping neighbor,” he said. “We’re not waiting for anyone else to save us.”

    In Howard Beach, the Red Cross handed out blankets and boxes of food a week after the hurricane. The organization has set up a number of places in Queens where it is giving out meals twice a day — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. — including Charles Park, Ave Maria Catholic Academy, both in Howard Beach, the American Legion Hall in Broad Channel and six locations in the Rockaways.

    The Red Cross is under fire for its response citywide and for at least one other Sandy-related controversy. On Monday, the Huffington Post reported that its volunteers were being lodged in the SoHo Grand Hotel in Manhattan, where rooms can run over $300 a night.

    In Staten Island, Red Cross trucks drove around last week offering food to residents in the Tottenville section, many of whom have already gotten their power back.

    A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday said 66 percent of New York City residents — including 72 percent of Queens residents — rated the Red Cross’ response to the hurricane as “excellent” or “good.” But the opinion of the Red Cross’ response is not positive everywhere. The poll shows half of respondents from Staten Island thought the agency did a “fair” or “poor” job in response to the hurricane.

    The Red Cross could not be reached for comment before presstime.

    http://www.qchron.com/editions/south...8a9fecd05.html

  5. #5
    ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Number 47's Avatar
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    how stuff works


  6. #6
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    FYI if the complaint is that we were not in the hardest hit areas it is usually because we have not yet been granted access to those areas by the first responders We work very carefully with local law enforcement and emergency management agencies. We cannot go into those areas until cleared to so. but ERVs LERVs and food and supply trucks of all sorts have been staged for days in areas where they can be promptly deployed.


    RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS are NEVER sent into unsafe areas. First responders and EMAs designate areas as red zones and green zones and in the interest of the safety of our volunteers and the security of our supplies we do not enter into dangerous zones


    usually the people who complain are people who are in areas that were supposed to be evacuated and they did not leave....so they wonder why there is no one there immediately to "save them"

    if they had evacuated they WOULD have seen us in the many temporary shelters safely set up outside of the disaster area

    survivor of the Bowling Green Massacre 9-3-2016 BGSU 10 OSU 77

    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

 

 

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