STATE — As rain continues to fall in New Jersey, the American Red Cross is returning to communities that flooded last week as a result of Hurricane Irene; this time to determine who has been displaced again.
Emergency response vehicles that have been driving into communities to distribute food and clean-up kits are now returning to report new damage. The Red Cross is seeing meal routes starting to flood in northern New Jersey. To ensure people in the area have access to vital supplies, Red Cross is currently delivering items to key areas, in the event it would not be able to return to the area.
“The rain is continuing to be a concern. We’re worried the amazing progress people have made could be jeopardized by the moisture from remnants of Tropical Storm Lee,” said Scott Underwood, job director for Red Cross recovery efforts in New Jersey. “We anticipate seeing an increase in shelter populations, and Red Cross is moving supplies and people to re-affected areas to ensure the community has the help it needs.”
The New Jersey recovery effort is the largest Red Cross operation following Hurricane Irene. Currently, there are nearly 700 volunteers and staff from across the country, helping people in New Jersey recover. Since Irene’s landfall, Red Cross has
- distributed more than 200,000 meals and snacks
- provided nearly 18,000 overnight stays
- utilized 23 emergency response vehicles
- given out more than 13,000 clean-up kits
During the short break in weather, Red Cross volunteers quickly began to assess the flood damage. Nearly 13,000 homes received major damage and 362 homes were completely destroyed. Red Cross estimates more than 42,000 homes were affected by Hurricane Irene and the corresponding floods.
When the Red Cross is in neighborhoods that have sustained such severe damage, providing mental health counseling, referrals and information helps to return peoples’ lives back to normal.
“What’s really interesting is that of all the help Red Cross provides, what people always remember is that Red Cross stopped and listened,” Underwood said. “Talking about what you’ve gone through and the reassurance that someone knows about your problems is a large part of the recovery process.”
Because the timeline for the recovery is unknown, the Red Cross wants the community to know how it can help. You can support the American Red Cross by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-REDCROSS, or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You can also double the number of people you’ll help thanks to a matching gift made by New Jersey Natural Gas for up to $25,000. Simply visit www.jerseycoast-redcross.org to take advantage of New Jersey Natural Gas’ matching donation.
“We’re proud of what we’ve done, but we have a long way to go,” Underwood said. “The Red Cross will be here as long as needed, and we’re tremendously grateful for the community helping to make it happen.
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