How Eastern NC Supported the Superstorm Sandy Response

Chris Nienow of Wilmington, NC (right) and Kerry Karusse (Emergency Communication Coordinator with ARES) worked to set up satelitte communications in Elizabeth City, NC during Superstorm Sandy.

Chris Nienow of Wilmington, NC (right) and Kerry Karusse (Emergency Communication Coordinator with ARES) worked to set up satellite communications in Elizabeth City, NC during Superstorm Sandy.

Click Here for the National One-year Superstorm Sandy report.

The Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross supported Superstorm Sandy preparation and response here at home and throughout the northeast.  Before the storm hit, the Red Cross set up command centers staffed with local Red Cross workers in New Bern and Elizabeth City.

Four emergency shelters were opened which housed 82 residents whose homes were threatened by storm surge flooding.   In eastern NC, 71 local Red Cross workers sheltered, fed and distributed supplies to communities along our coast affected by Sandy.  A total of 1,900 meals and snacks were served to local residents in the storms wake along with 45 comfort kits containing hygiene items and 561 clean up kits.

After our communities’ needs were met, the local Red Cross shifted volunteers and resources to areas hit the hardest by Sandy including Virginia, New York and New Jersey. A total of 112 individuals from the American Red Cross Eastern NC Region deployed to assist with the Superstorm Sandy response.

Volunteer Charlotte Rodriguez of Jacksonville, NC (right) helps a group of young men get food and information about Red Cross assistance as they work to clean up storm ravaged homes in Breezy Point, NY.

Volunteer Charlotte Rodriguez of Jacksonville, NC (right) helps a group of young men get food and information about Red Cross assistance as they work to clean up storm ravaged homes in Breezy Point, NY.

Some of those workers took on multiple assignments going back for weeks at a time to help out in the northeast. These volunteers were involved with essential activities including shelter operations, feeding, client casework, distribution of supplies, damage assessment, and health and mental health services.

Five emergency vehicles from Red Cross chapters in Elizabeth City, Goldsboro, New Bern, Rocky Mount and Wilmington were driven to the northeast by teams of Red Cross volunteers to help with mobile feeding and bulk distribution of relief supplies.  These local chapter vehicles were utilized by the response operation for approximately 5 months.

The local community was an essential part of the Sandy recovery and response.  Approximately $750,000 in donations came from people here in eastern NC.  Those donations were put to good use in the communities most impacted by the storm.

Eight year old Rileigh Pedersen of Wilmington, NC sold cookies in her neighborhood to help victims of Superstorm Sandy and brought in a $208 check to the local Red Cross.

Eight year old Rileigh Pedersen of Wilmington, NC sold cookies in her neighborhood to help victims of Superstorm Sandy and brought in a $208 check to the local Red Cross.

As Sandy was making its way across the east coast, the Red Cross received a call to assist the survivors of the HMS Bounty. On Monday, October 29th, 2012, amidst treacherous waves and storm surge caused by Superstorm Sandy, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 people from the HMS Bounty, a 180 ft. sailing ship that sank off the coast of Hatteras, NC. Representatives from the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross, in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, met with the 14 survivors to offer comfort and support after the rescue. Red Cross disaster workers provided the individuals with food, clothing, and shelter, and assisted with additional immediate needs to aid them in their recovery.

On April 11, 2013 at Elizabeth City State University, the American Red Cross honored the heroism, courage and selflessness of the HMS Bounty rescue mission by paying tribute to the men and women of the Coast Guard Air Station in Elizabeth City.  At the event, the Red Cross presented awards to 22 members of the Coast Guard who risked their safety to save 14 people during a hurricane.

Members of the Coast Guard in Elizabeth City, NC receive awards from the Red Cross for the HMS Bounty Rescue during Superstorm Sandy.

Members of the Coast Guard in Elizabeth City, NC receive awards from the Red Cross for the HMS Bounty Rescue during Superstorm Sandy.

In the midst of responding to Sandy, your Red Cross of Eastern NC was also preparing for and responding to disasters at home—we provide food and shelter, distribute supplies and provide other types of support to the victims of nearly 800 local disasters a year.

We are grateful for contributions from everyone in our community who saw the devastation caused by Sandy and were determined to ease the suffering.

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