Superstorm Sandy

One-Year Update – October 2013

Superstorm Sandy Response
Superstorm Sandy Response
The American Red Cross launched relief operations in 12 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to help people affected by Superstorm Sandy. as of 4/18/13

Activated more than 300 emergency response vehicles.

74,000 overnight stays
in shelters.

Provided more than

17.5 million meals and snacks.

Served more than

Distributed more than 7 million relief items.

113,000 health and mental health contacts.

Provided nearly

Mobilized more than

17,000 workers and volunteers.

For the most current information about Sandy relief efforts, visit
All numbers are cumulative and represent Red Cross response efforts since Oct. 27, 2012. All numbers are cumulative and represent Red Cross response efforts since Oct. 27, 2012.

Right: The Red Cross brought assistance and hope to hard-hit neighborhoods. On the cover: Esther Park points to the watermark in her home left by Superstorm Sandy. Through a grant provided by the American Red Cross, Greater Bergen Community Action, Inc, helped Park and her family repair and rebuild their home.

A Message From the President and CEO
Superstorm Sandy battered the Northeast, paralyzing this nation’s largest metropolis, reshaping shorelines and forever changing communities and lives. And thanks to your support, the American Red Cross mounted its biggest disaster response in more than five years, providing food, shelter and comfort immediately after the storm and then helping people recover and rebuild. I grew up in New York and New Jersey and spent much of my life there, so I was heartbroken as I walked through familiar communities that had been brought to their knees. Homes and possessions were ruined, and with them plans and dreams. And the destruction went on and on. The Red Cross response was widespread and long-lasting, involving more than 300 emergency response vehicles and powered by more than 17,000 disaster workers from every state—90 percent of them volunteers—who helped people get through some of the toughest times of their lives. I know that the help being extended was the result of the kindness and generosity of donors across the country who entrusted the Red Cross with their support. The Red Cross received $308 million in donations for Sandy emergency relief and recovery efforts, and we have spent or committed more than 90 percent of these funds over the course of the year. These donations provided immediate shelter and food as well as blankets and relief supplies that were delivered door-to-door. They helped some families start over in a new place, enabled others to clean and repair their homes, gave emotional support to those who have been through so much, and provided financial help and guidance to people working to put their lives back together. The Red Cross plans to use the remaining funds to help Sandy survivors. We expect to use these funds to help people with a range of housing-related expenses, to support community resiliency and for grants to partners helping Sandy survivors. The Red Cross also has awarded grants to a number of partner nonprofits working in local neighborhoods to help residents recover. We also provide support to local committees to address unmet needs, as well as to resiliency programs that strengthen communities against future disasters. Our work has gone a long way toward helping people put Sandy behind them, but more remains to be done. The needs from Superstorm Sandy are still great, and the Red Cross continues to help, thanks to the generosity of our donors.

Gail McGovern
To view a Superstorm Sandy video on our recovery efforts to date, please click here.

Superstorm Sandy | One-Year Update

One of the Most Powerful Storms to Ever Hit the Northeast
On October 29, the center of 900-mile-wide Superstorm Sandy slammed the Atlantic Coast south of Atlantic City, N.J. A full moon, high tide, record-breaking pressure and 80 mph winds combined to form one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the Northeast. The winds, rains and flooding—and snowstorms inland—displaced hundreds of thousands of people and left 8.5 million without power across 11 states. In New Jersey, Sandy flooded streets and homes and knocked down trees and power lines up and down the coast. Atlantic City was 80 percent underwater, and its famed boardwalk was ripped apart. In Hoboken, on the Hudson River, the National Guard rescued 20,000 people stranded in their homes and pumped out 500 million gallons of water mixed with sewage. Nearly a million people in New York City were without power, and thousands of the elderly and infirm were stuck in high-rise apartment buildings with no elevator service. Cars floated in the streets of Manhattan, tunnels flooded end-to-end, and the subway shut down for days. On Staten Island, thousands of homes were destroyed or severely damaged, and on Long Island, 90 percent of the area was without power. In Queens, surging waves devastated the Rockaways, and a flooded electrical system in one Breezy Point home sparked a fire that reduced 130 homes to blackened rubble. While New York and New Jersey were severely impacted by the storm, the combination of hurricane-force winds and a nor’easter also brought devastation that stretched from Connecticut to West Virginia and Maryland.
Red Cross shelters provided a safe and warm place to stay.

The Red Cross Responds to Superstorm Sandy
The Red Cross response began even before landfall, as ongoing donations from corporate partners and individuals empowered us to make preparations, open shelters and position workers, equipment and supplies. Once the storm passed, Red Cross volunteers navigated blocked roads, closed bridges and tunnels, and gas shortages as they worked to bring relief throughout the region, help families


Superstorm Sandy | One-Year Update

endure the precarious early days and months of uncertainty, and find hope, guidance and resources to start over. The Red Cross opened shelters and feeding sites. We went door-to-door through hard-hit neighborhoods and floor-by-floor through highrise residences delivering food, blankets, health and emotional support and critical relief supplies. We met with the families who lost loved ones to offer support and comfort. We also planned recovery efforts alongside the government and other nonprofits to ensure Red Cross assistance was going where it was needed most.

A big part of the recovery involved case management—working one-on-one with families, helping them plan their next steps and access available resources to meet their specific needs through direct assistance, as well as partner referrals. The Red Cross Move-In Assistance Program continues to provide case management and referrals as well as assisting families with rent, rebuilding, repairs, temporary housing, storage and moving costs, appliances and furniture. We also awarded grants to nonprofits that are working to provide Sandy-related housing needs, food and financial assistance, and to support community roundtables that help meet ongoing Sandy-related needs.

Volunteers Bring Help—and Hope
In the early days and weeks, freezing temperatures and widespread power outages made conditions dire. Shelters housed displaced residents and others needing a meal or a shower. Our Southern Baptist Convention partners operated mobile kitchens and prepared hot meals, which were loaded into emergency response vehicles and delivered to those affected by the storm. Teams of Red Cross relief workers, including health and mental health volunteers, combed hard-hit neighborhoods bringing assistance and hope. When Sandy sent 10 feet of water rushing through Lido Beach on Long Island, N.Y., Red Cross relief workers delivered aid to the many senior citizens in high-rise apartments without power. At each building, the group divided into teams of two, and went floor-to-floor ensuring that all residents received food, water, blankets and supplies. While in Lido Beach, Red Cross workers heard of a nearby senior center that had lost power. Residents were cold and needed help.

“ When we got there…people would just burst into tears.”
—Steve Brown, Red Cross volunteer

“We filled the car with blankets and comfort kits and hot and cold food,” said Red Cross volunteer Steve Brown from San Antonio. “When we got there, we would knock on doors and people would just burst into tears. They had no power, no access to media, so they didn’t understand the scope of the disaster. We listened, reassured them and promised that more help was on the way.”

Landfall: October 2012
Hurricane Sandy blows through the Caribbean and up the Atlantic Coast. The Red Cross mobilizes workers and response vehicles, opens shelters and positions relief supplies. Sandy makes landfall on October 29 at Atlantic City, N.J., and the Red Cross implements disaster response operations in 12 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.


Superstorm Sandy | One-Year Update

In just the first month after Sandy’s landfall, the Red Cross served more than 7.4 million meals and snacks, distributed more than 5.2 million relief items, mobilized more than 14,400 trained disaster workers and volunteers, and provided tens of thousands of overnight stays in shelters. Volunteers from nearby neighborhoods, all 50 states and even neighboring countries gave their time and compassion to Sandy survivors. Red Cross digital volunteers supported the early response with social engagement. More than 20 trained digital disaster volunteers devoted hundreds of hours to interacting with the affected communities, providing preparedness and safety information ahead of the storm, as well as the

locations of shelters, emergency response vehicles and fixed feeding sites after the storm hit. The information and feedback that these volunteers gathered from public social media platforms also helped the Red Cross identify and quickly respond to areas that urgently needed assistance. Together with the digital volunteers, the social engagement team tracked more than 2 million public Red Cross and Sandy-related social media posts in the early weeks of the response. They identified posts that contained useful information or relevant discussions and responded directly to thousands of posts from people seeking help, requesting information, or just needing comfort and encouragement.

Red Cross emergency response vehicles brought food and comfort to storm survivors.


Superstorm Sandy | One-Year Update

Agencies Coordinate Relief, Collaborate for Recovery
After several weeks focused on meeting emergency needs, trained Red Cross case managers began meeting with families to help them plan for their recovery and navigate available resources to assist them each step of the way. The Red Cross developed a recovery plan alongside FEMA and others, coordinating efforts and identifying unmet needs. Working with FEMA and other government partners, the Red Cross worked to identify and support to those with the greatest needs and fewest resources. By the end of 2012, most emergency needs, though ongoing, were stabilized and shelters were closed. Thousands still lived in hotels or other temporary housing; many others struggled financially because of income loss or interruption. Through the winter months, the Red Cross and its partner organizations continued to deliver thousands of meals a day to nourish people in hard-hit communities. Red Cross nurses and counselors increasingly saw survivors struggling with the emotional toll of months of storm impact. Red Cross case managers worked diligently to connect people with financial and other resources they needed to regain their independence, and the organization joined forces with community partners to accelerate the recovery process. The Red Cross partnered with the volunteer impact group New York Cares to bolster their “Muck Out” program and clean homes ravaged by Sandy in Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y. Groups labored long days removing sand and debris; discarding damaged furniture and appliances; and tearing out soggy drywall, ceilings, insulation and flooring.

“ …you accomplished more today than I did the whole time since the hurricane.”
—Eric Rasmussen, Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Eric Rasmussen and his family were devastated when Sandy swamped their Gerritsen Beach, N.Y., home. After seven months of little progress, 40 insurance company employees volunteered with the Red Cross to “muck out” the damaged house. I’ve been doing it with just family ripping stuff up, then you guys came and you accomplished more today than I did the whole time since the hurricane,” Rasmussen said. The family moved back into their home in August.

Three Months Out: January 2013
After three months, the Red Cross has provided more than 70,000 overnight stays in shelters; distributed more than 6.9 million relief items; provided more than 109,000 health and mental health contacts; served more than 11 million meals and snacks; and mobilized more than 16,800 workers and volunteers. Red Cross case managers meet one-on-one with thousands of people needing assistance with recovery.


Superstorm Sandy | One-Year Update

Move-In Program Helps People Return Home
Day by day, storm-ravaged communities saw public services and commercial activity restored, allowing more people to resume normal lives. Red Cross case managers continued helping families obtain resources and make the move from temporary to permanent housing. Finding places to live after such widespread devastation took time. Once housing was located, case managers determined if families could benefit from the Red Cross Move-In Assistance Program. The program provides eligible families with financial support for a range of housing-related expenses such as repairs, moving costs and furniture. each week. In the months ahead, these funds will continue to help people find housing through ongoing outreach efforts by the Red Cross and our partners to connect clients with other available assistance opportunities.

Funds to Partner Organizations Speed Recovery
Disasters as large as Superstorm Sandy are bigger than any one organization can handle alone, and the Red Cross continues to work with government and partner organizations on a coordinated response. One part of that work is making sure partner organizations working in the communities have the funding and capacity to meet the unique needs of their communities. The Red Cross has provided grants to support the work of large, national organizations as well as smaller regional and local organizations like the Staten Island Foundation and the Volunteer Center of Bergen County. These grants have supported a range of services, from ongoing food and housing assistance to individual case management services and support. In each case, the impact of the grant is high, the overhead is low and the results are measurable.

“ …I wouldn’t be back in my home without the American Red Cross.”
—Suzanne McDonnell, Ocean Gate, N.J.

Sandy deposited three feet of water, debris and mud throughout the Ocean Gate, N.J., home where Suzanne McDonnell lives with her 12- and 13-year-old children. The family rode out the storm with a friend before FEMA provided assistance with a hotel. A Red Cross case manager then met with Suzanne to assess her recovery needs, and the Red Cross funded replacement of her walls, floor, carpets and furniture. Later, when a home repair went awry, Suzanne contacted her case manager, and the Red Cross again covered the repairs. “I don’t know where I would be,” she said, “but I wouldn’t be back in my home without the American Red Cross.” Through late-September, more than 2,800 households have received more than $15 million in Sandy move-in-assistance from the Red Cross, and we are spending funds to help more families

Six Months Out: April 2013
Case management services continue to provide households with assistance in developing personal recovery plans and obtaining local recovery information, access to partner resources, and direct financial assistance with relocation or rebuilding and move-in expenses. Collaborations with community food banks in New York provide for long-term feeding needs in hardest hit areas and result in the delivery of more than 80,000 meals a day.


Superstorm Sandy | One-Year Update

“ Recovery from a storm of this size takes time and help from many different organizations. The Red Cross and our partners can help people and communities recover in a more comprehensive way when we pool our resources and coordinate our programs and services.”
—Jerry DeFrancisco, president of Humanitarian Services at the American Red Cross

and replacing flooring. After three weeks, they had put in baseboards, painted walls and tiled the bathroom. Cabinets and appliances were on the way, and Judy would be back in her home in a couple of weeks. “[A Future with Hope and the Red Cross] gave me my home back,” Judy said. “And you renewed my hope in humanity.” As of September 30, the Red Cross has awarded 43 grants totaling $55 million, which are being used by the recipient organizations for food, mold remediation, home repairs, direct financial assistance for recovery needs, financial counseling, volunteer programs, interagency coordination and other support for long-term recovery for people and communities impacted by Sandy in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and West Virginia. We have worked closely with the Long Term Recovery Groups in every affected community, and through this process we have provided funding to support local Unmet Needs Roundtables. Overall, the Red Cross plans to allocate about a quarter of its Sandy funds for grants to organizations working in the communities to help Sandy survivors. It will take time for people to heal, rebuild and recover, but by working together, we bring that day closer.

Judy Schram was at her Highlands, N.J., home when Sandy hit. The waters rose, filling the first floor with three feet of water. “It felt like the water would never quit coming,” Judy said. The damage was extensive. She hired a contractor, but his work made matters worse. “I was ready to walk away,” Judy said. “I didn’t think I was going to get back in my home.” Then Judy found A Future with Hope, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Greater New Jersey United Methodist Church, which received a Red Cross grant. In a few weeks, volunteers arrived and began making repairs, hanging drywall

Nine Months Out: July 2013
Partnerships with national and local organizations like the Brooklyn Community Foundation and Points of Light continue to strengthen the response and speed recovery. The Red Cross spearheads local committees that address unmet needs, funds financial counseling agencies and supports mold remediation and home repairs.


Superstorm Sandy | One-Year Update

Strengthening Communities for the Future
Communities that experienced Sandy’s wrath are determined to come back strong, and the Red Cross is working to ensure their recovery includes being better prepared for the next disaster. Our work with local partners, communities and governments during the recovery process continues to go a long way toward fostering more resilient communities. Recovery is managed by local Red Cross teams that are part of building and strengthening the affected communities. Actions taken with the partners include educating residents about how they can better protect their families, homes and possessions; supporting preparedness among local businesses so they can reopen quickly after a disaster and become part of the recovery solution; supporting community long term recovery groups and enhancing and refreshing response and coordination plans with partner organizations. Additionally, the Red Cross is restocking warehouses and investing in lifesaving recovery supplies that will be pre-positioned throughout the region to ensure we can, again, provide immediate relief should another disaster occur. These measures are resulting in communities that are far better equipped to deal with the impact of future disasters and help citizens return to normal lives in the aftermath.

“ The Red Cross has brought millions of dollars to Staten Island and the city, and I am grateful to continue working side-by-side with them as we approach the one-year anniversary of the historic storm.”
—James Molinaro, Staten Island Borough President
A grant provided by the Red Cross helped volunteers to repair Judy Schram’s home.


Superstorm Sandy | One-Year Update

A year after Superstorm Sandy struck, the Red Cross already has spent or made commitments for $280 million for Sandy emergency relief and recovery programs, which is more than 90 percent of the $308 million donated to the Red Cross for Sandy relief. The biggest share of the remaining money will be used to help people with housing-related expenses. In addition, we will support community resiliency programs and give more grants to nonprofit partners to help Sandy survivors. We are committed that the money donated for Sandy will be used to help the people affected by Sandy. Red Cross Superstorm Sandy Expenses and Commitments*† Through September 30, 2013– $280M
(in thousands)

Disaster Vehicles,  Equipment and Warehousing $9,353, 3.3%
Relief Items $32,700 1 1.7% Housing and Community Assistance $44,429 15.8% Food and Shelter $95,938 34.2%

Physical and Mental Health Services $6,614, 2.4% Interagency Coordination $4,095, 1.5% Community Resilience $2,128, 0.8%

Individual Casework and Assistance $85,1 17 30.4%

* An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. † These expenses include both direct services and support to other agencies.

Food and Shelter The Red Cross opens shelters to ensure people have a safe place to stay before, during and after the storm. The Red Cross serves meals at shelters, as well as from emergency response vehicles moving through neighborhoods and fixed feeding sites in affected communities. This includes donations to food banks. Individual Casework and Assistance Caseworkers from the Red Cross and other agencies meet with individuals affected by disaster to offer assistance, identify special needs and help them plan their long-term recovery. Assistance can include groceries, clothing, furniture, move-in assistance, security deposits, lodging and other aid to help a family get back on its feet. Housing and Community Assistance The Red Cross provides assistance to meet housing needs for those whose homes were most seriously damaged by the disaster. This includes assistance for items such as repairs and rebuilding, mold removal, appliances and volunteer housing. Relief Items The Red Cross distributes a range of relief items, including comfort kits with hygiene items like toothbrushes and toothpaste, cleaning supplies, flashlights, batteries, trash bags, cold-weather essentials (gloves, blankets, hand-warmers) and shovels.

Disaster Vehicles, Equipment and Warehousing Red Cross workers drive through neighborhoods to distribute water, food and relief supplies in more than 300 feeding trucks as well as rental cars, trucks and other vehicles. This also includes costs associated with warehousing, fleet management, fuel and other necessities. Physical and Mental Health Services The Red Cross provides physical and emotional support services to clients, which has included first aid and replacement of prescription medicines. Interagency Coordination The Red Cross is providing funding to National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) and other agencies that work to coordinate recovery efforts. Community Resilience The Red Cross improves the ability of disaster-impacted communities to respond to future emergencies by purchasing and pre-positioning relief supplies, convening partner organizations and conducting planning and training exercises.


Thank You
The Red Cross has worked in Sandy-affected communities for a year, and we continue to help more people recover every day. In the midst of responding to Sandy, the Red Cross was also preparing for and responding to disasters across the country and around the world—we provide food and shelter, distribute supplies and provide other types of support to the victims of nearly 70,000 disasters a year. This disaster relief is powered by the hard work of kind volunteers and the amazing generosity of those who donate crucial funds to support our mission. We are grateful for contributions from people across the nation who saw the devastation caused by Sandy and were determined to ease the suffering; our partner nonprofits that worked alongside us in the best interest of those in need; and our team of dedicated volunteers who put the organization’s plans, resources and compassion to work. We also appreciate our faithful corporate partners—Annual Disaster Giving Program and Disaster Responder members—and individuals who support disaster relief. Their generosity helped us respond even before Sandy made landfall. It also ensures we can prepare for, respond to and recover from tomorrow’s disasters, both those that affect millions and those that affect a single family or community. Thank you. You have made, and continue to make, a difference in thousands of lives.

Mission The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.


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