Another Loser in Sandy's Wake: the Red Cross
Its slow reaction has left some victims fuming
By Liam Carnahan, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2012 11:24 AM CST
A member of the Red Cross distributes food to residents of Coney Island affected by Superstorm Sandy in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(Newser) – Despite massive fundraising efforts, the Red Cross' response to Hurricane Sandy has left many victims unsatisfied, reports Reuters in a lengthy look at the group's efforts. It finds several factors fueling the disappointment:

  • In advance of the storm, the Red Cross set up five staging areas in places it didn't expect Sandy to hit; but in two of those places—Baltimore and Harrisburg, Penn.,—officials primarily helped local residents, and didn't send resources to harder-hit regions for days.
  • It had a hard time mobilizing aid because of traffic and chaos from the storm, and took three days to get to Staten Island, the Rockaways, and Coney Island.

  • Upon arriving in truly hard-hit spots, workers found that misconceptions about what the group actually does caused resentment. One New Yorker asked for help moving a 90-year-old bedridden woman to a shelter, only to be told the Red Cross doesn't assist with such transports. It also doesn't arrange cleanup operations. What it does do: supply food, operate shelters.
  • Red Cross's sheer size may also be a problem—smaller groups like Occupy Sandy or Doctor's Without Borders have been able to react faster.
  • But Red Cross argues it's doing the best it can: "No one organization, no government agency, could permanently be ready to respond to a disaster of this magnitude," says a Red Cross exec. It says that its 2,200 volunteers and 160 employees have helped give out more than 1 million meals or snacks.

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Showing 3 of 21 comments
Nov 14, 2012 2:15 PM CST
OWS Sandy showed survivors how to shit in city parks and they passed out free blunts for medical use only of course.
Nov 14, 2012 2:00 PM CST
After we learned that the Red Cross gave the ILLEGAL TOBACCO DRUG (via cigarettes) to our overseas troops, we vowed never to give another dime to them!
Nov 14, 2012 12:44 PM CST
Back when Republican Bob Dole was a presidential candidate, I read that his wife Elizabeth Dole, as top administrator of the Red Cross, pulled a Red Cross salary of about a half million dollars. That is scandalous, for a "charity" organization where most donors believe that their donations mostly go to helping disaster victims. For that reason, after 9/11, I did not. nor would not donate to the Red Cross. (And given such excess pay to such CEO's, IRS ought reconsider Red Cross's nonprofit status.) It had formerly a high reputation; its 1860's founder Clara Barton (who earned nothing broaching Elizabeth Dole's queenly pay) would be scandalized. Too now they need untie such bureaucratic, dysfunctional redtape as the rule that forbade their transporting this article's 90-year-old woman to a shelter.