Red Cross’s Sandy Response Is Criticized as Donations Mount

Contributions to the American Red Cross for Superstorm Sandy relief reached $85-million Sunday, but the charity has come in for criticism from beleaguered New Yorkers over its response to the disaster, according to the Associated Press and The New York Times. Critics in New York said that in the first few days after the storm the Red Cross was slow to get emergency vehicles into hard-hit areas and open mobile kitchens, with Staten Island borough President James Molinaro calling the charity’s efforts “an absolute disgrace” in a televised tirade on Thursday.

Mr. Molinaro retracted his comments Friday in a public appearance with Gail McGovern, the Red Cross president, but she said she understood his concerns. “We were frustrated, too. I wish I could have clicked my fingers and gotten all the supplies and trucks and volunteers there faster,” she said.

Friday’s Sandy benefit concert, broadcast on NBC and featuring performances by Bruce Springsteen, Christina Aguilera, and other rock and pop stars, garnered nearly $23-million in donations to the Red Cross, the Associated Press also reports.

In a related story, with Sunday’s New York City Marathon called off due to Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of would-be participants in full race regalia instead took the ferry to Staten Island and distributed relief supplies in neighborhoods, reports the Associated Press. Runners in other parts of New York collected funds or dropped off donated items for storm victims.

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