Valdosta Daily Times

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October 30, 2012

South Georgia moves to help Sandy’s victims

VALDOSTA — As the ninth named storm of hurricane season threatens the quality of life for an estimated 60 million people in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, the American Red Cross has been mobilizing around Sandy’s potential impact areas and urging citizens to continue their donations as we approach the final month of hurricane season.

At least 69 deaths have been attributed to the super storm as it ripped through the Caribbean last week, according to Monday report from ABC News. And as the storm looms over the nation’s most populated regions, Executive Director Terri Jenkins of Red Cross’ South Georgia chapter, said the non-profit has been scrambling its units and shoring up their supplies.

Nearly 100 Red Cross emergency vehicles have been mobilizing to distribute meals and relief supplies for the storm’s aftermath, said Jenkins. She said the Red Cross’ Flint River and South Georgia Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) have already been dispatched to potential impact areas in the South.

“The South Georgia Chapter of the Red Cross is assisting by sending the Emergency Response

Vehicle and volunteers to Ashburn, Va., to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. They left Monday, October 29,” said Jenkins.

The storm has caused the cancellation of Red Cross blood drives in the region, said Jenkins. More cancellations are expected, which has resulted in the loss of several hundred units of blood and platelets so far, she said.

“The Red Cross has also shipped blood to hospitals in the affected areas in advance of the storm as patients will still need blood and platelets despite the weather,” said Jenkins. “If anyone is eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, they are asked to please schedule a blood donation now.”

Georgia Power has been standing by as well, according to Georgia Power Spokesman John Kraft. Well over 300 Georgia Power employees have formed two teams and have been staging outside of Sandy’s expected impact areas in Richmond, Va. and Rahleigh, N.C., said Kraft.

“Georgia Power is part of a mutual assistance network, which is an agreement of sorts between us and other utilities,” said Kraft. “There are large conference calls between member utilities, where some utilities state their needs and others state what they can loan. In regard to this relief efforts, we’re assigned to the Baltimore, Md. area.”

The Red Cross has sent thousands of ready-to-eat meals and relief supplies into the region, according to Senior Vice President, Charley Shimanski, of the Red Cross’ Disaster Services. But the non-profit still needs more support, he said.

“This will be a large, costly relief response and we need help now,” Shimanski said. “People can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief online, by text or by phone.”

To donate to the relief effort, visit www.redcross.org online, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to the local Red Cross chapter at 509 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Ga.  31601 or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

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