Deployed Port Angeles nurse details Sandy’s savage impact

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Registered nurse Denise Bergeron of Port Angeles, one of a dozen Red Cross volunteers deployed to the East Coast, told about devastation from superstorm Sandy in a weekend email.

Bergeron is among the trained volunteers with the Olympic Peninsula chapter of the American Red Cross who went to the East Coast last week.

She and Frank Keener, also of Port Angeles, are assisting at Red Cross emergency shelters in New York state.

Sandy, which began as a hurricane and merged with two storms to become a “superstorm,” hit the East Coast on Oct. 29.

As of Tuesday, the U.S. death toll was more than 100 in 10 states, and more than 1 million homes remained without power as temperatures dropped in the 30s and a nor’easter headed for the area today.

“As you can imagine in most places in a radius to New York City are completely devastated and in the dark,” Bergeron said in a Saturday email to her father, Bud Critchfield.

Potentially tens of thousands of people have been left homeless by the storm, The Associated Press said, adding that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has dispensed close to $200 million in emergency housing assistance and has put 34,000 people in New York and New Jersey up in hotels and motels.

Bergeron said she was sent to a “functional needs” shelter in Sullivan County — a shelter that houses people who were discharged from area hospitals, she said.

She expected to be relocated to Long Island on Sunday and, with the local fire departments and utility companies outreach services, begin with search-and-rescue and recovery in outlying areas not already canvassed by volunteers, she said.

Peninsula volunteers currently are spread across much of the disaster area.

Colin Anable of Nordland; Shirley Williams, Don Dybeck and Diane Bommer of Port Townsend; Roger Drake and Ryan Ollerman of Port Angeles; and Zane Beall of Sequim were sent to New Jersey.

Wayne Foth of Sekiu and Betty Hendricks and Janet Parris of Port Angeles were sent to White Plains, N.Y., said Michelle Kelley, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula chapter of the Red Cross, which serves Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Deployments are generally two to three weeks long, according to Stephanie Gruss, Red Cross spokeswoman.

Donations can be made by visiting www.redcross.org, phoning 800-733-2767, texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation or sent to the Olympic Peninsula chapter at P.O. Box 188, Carlsborg, WA 98324, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 06. 2012 5:43PM
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