Interstate 77 near the Virginia-North Carolina reopened early Monday following a series of chain-reaction wrecks involving nearly 100 vehicles along a mountainous, foggy stretch of the highway, killing three people and injured 25 others.
Virginia State Police determined 95 vehicles wrecked in 17 separate crashes within a mile span near the base of Fancy Gap Mountain, spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. The crashes began around 1:15 p.m. Sunday when there was heavy fog in the area.
“This mountain is notorious for fog banks. They have advance signs warning people. But the problem is, people are seeing well and suddenly they’re in a fog bank,” said Glen Sage of the American Red Cross office in the town of Galax.
The #121212concert for Sandy relief is underway, and the opening act was Bruce Springsteen who was joined by Jon Bon Jovi for a rendition of Born to Run. That’s the tip of the iceberg for this huge show.
Funds raised by the show are to go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund. 100% of the funds are supposed to go to disaster assistance (as per Billy Crystal in his opening monologue).
It’s expected that the show will be simulcast to an audience of 2 billion people.
I understand that some folks are reluctant to give to this charity, or to the American Red Cross, or other major charitable groups because they aggregate funds and don’t necessarily fund relief directly for those affected by this particular natural disaster. That’s their prerogative.
For those folks, here are a couple of local charities that are helping folks in the affected areas of the New York City metro area.
I’ve donated to the Staten Island Rotary, which is assisting folks on Staten Island and with which I have personal connections. Rotary organizations throughout the region have similar efforts underway.
If you’re not sure of a particular charity, always check out sites like Charity Navigator and the BBB to see whether the charities are making every effort to maximize your donations and not eating it up with overhead and extraneous expenses.
There is a lot of misinformation circulating on social networks regarding the response and recovery effort for Hurricane Sandy. Rumors spread fast: please tell a friend, share this page and help us provide accurate information about the types of assistance available.
Check here often for an on-going list of rumors and their true or false status.
Cash Cards / Food Stamps
There are message boards and traffic on social media sites related to FEMA distributing cash cards to individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy. This is FALSE. (November 5)
Individuals in declared counties affected by Sandy should register for assistance by visiting disasterassistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-FEMA.
Food stamps being given out to residents of New York and New Jersey as a part of FEMA assistance. This is FALSE. (November 3)
If you are a survivor in a declared county, you should apply for assistance online, on a mobile device, or over the phone 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
There are reports that FEMA is paying $1,000 to go to New York and New Jersey to clean up debris. This is FALSE. (November 5)
For information on how to volunteer and assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, visit Serve.gov/sandy
There is a spike of traffic related to FEMA hiring cleanup crews in both New York and New Jersey. This is FALSE. (November 2)
For information on how to volunteer and assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, visit Serve.gov/sandy
There was an inaccurate report on a radio station discussing a tent city for sheltering at Monmouth Park race track in New Jersey. This is FALSE. (November 5)
There are tents set up at Monmouth Park for first responders and utility and construction workers as a place to rest, take a break and receive food and water. If you are in need of shelter, visit the American Red Cross FIND OPEN SHELTERS by visiting, redcross.org
There have been recent blog posts and social media traffic expressing that FEMA is out of bottled water. This is FALSE. (November 3)
We are providing water to our state partners for distribution. For New York locations and times of food and water distribution centers and daytime warming centers, visit nyc.gov.
There have been calls and posts from citizens related to the failure of the Old Bridge Township water system in Old Bridge, New Jersey. This is FALSE. (November 3)
The Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority (OBMUA) has reported that the water system is stable and safe and that there are no usage restrictions currently in place.
Flying into Port-au-Prince on a recent day, Wendy Flick noticed changes to the landscape that gave her hope for the earthquake-ravaged city.
Ms. Flick, who runs the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s relief program in Haiti, saw more green spaces than she had remembered. That meant more rubble from the capital’s destroyed buildings had been cleared and some tent cities closed. And she saw new clusters of homes.
Two years after a 7.0-magnitude quake left 1.5 million Haitians homeless, aid workers like Ms. Flick cling to signs like that. But the numbers alone tell a grim story.
Roughly 519,000 people still live under tents in emergency camps that have dotted Port-au-Prince since the disaster. By the end of 2012, that number is expected to drop by only about half, according to a coalition of groups that coordinates shelter. Just 11,393 homes have been repaired and 3,206 permanent units constructed.
Housing has proved the trickiest challenge facing aid workers in Haiti, as they grapple with disputes over land ownership and where they can legally build. And now, with hundreds of thousands of people still homeless, money is starting to dry up. Only about a third of the money raised by aid groups remains.
Charities like Food for the Poor and Habitat for Humanity International, which specialize in housing, have spent all the cash they received. The American Red Cross and other large charities still have money, but they are struggling to find effective ways to spend it.
Most Haitians didn’t own land before the quake and have nowhere to rebuild. Squabbles over land titles have scuttled projects. Critics fault aid groups for focusing too much on transitional shelter and not enough on long-term solutions.
Over all, about two-thirds of the $1.7-billion raised in the United States and abroad by 47 nonprofits has been spent, according to a Chronicle survey. Fifteen of 53 groups have either run out of funds or have less than $200,000 left. In total, 60 aid groups and their international affiliates have raised $2.1-billion worldwide for Haiti’s earthquake victims, including $1.43-billion from Americans.
That is similar to the rate of spending after other disasters. But with so much work left undone, hopes of building Haiti “back better” seem increasingly out of reach.
Smaller building projects, and those in rural areas, have met with some success, but large-scale construction hasn’t happened.
The American Red Cross plans to put $187-million of the $486-million it raised toward housing. Mostly it is providing aid to other nonprofits; so far, it has committed $58.8-million to other charities to provide shelter. But while Red Cross money has given temporary shelter to 36,270 people, it has yet to build a single permanent home.
imp_62 brought up a concern both he and his wife have about STD/HIV education and the lack of contraception use (condoms) in a previous Pages Post of mine. This concern was a result of their discussion of the recent ruling to require a prescription for “The Day-After Pill” Plan B to women under the age of 17.
It is a valid and important concern. I thought it needed to be addressed separately from the Contraception/Abortion issue.
The Federal Government has not been lax in addressing the issue:
The mission of the Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to provide national leadership, research, policy development, and scientific information to help people live safer, healthier lives by the prevention of STDs and their complications. This mission is accomplished by assisting health departments, healthcare providers and non-government organizations (NGO) through the provision of timely science-based information and by clearly interpreting such information to the general public and policy makers. The Division’s specific disease prevention goals are contextualized within the broader framework of the social determinants of health, the promotion of sexual health, and the primary prevention of sexually transmitted disease.
The CDC program is complete with brochures, regional centers, DVD’s, and on-line training. It seems to be geared towards Public Health Workers.
Their Adolescent and Health Outreach program seems comprehensive and well thought out:
By the time young people graduate from high school, almost two thirds have had sex. Nearly 40 percent of sexually active students did not use a condom the last time they had sex, and one in five drank alcohol or took drugs before their last sexual intercourse.
Such risky sexual behaviors can have serious health consequences:
Approximately 18 percent of all new HIV diagnoses are among young people aged 13–24 years.*
Teens and young adults have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) of any age group.
Three in 10 young women become pregnant before they reach the age of 20.
Helping adolescents make healthy choices requires the involvement of families, communities, and many other sectors of society—and schools are an essential part of that effort. Schools have direct contact with more than 56 million students for at least 6 hours a day and for 13 critical years of their social, physical, and intellectual development. The school environment is also a key setting in which students’ behaviors and ideas are shaped. Just as schools are critical to preparing students academically and socially, they are also vital partners in helping young people take responsibility for their health and adopt health-enhancing attitudes and behaviors
They have issued grants to 20 NGO’s to further their mission.
A google search returned a State Government hit for what looked like every state. The American Red Cross has a program. So, I don’t think there is a whole lot that hasn’t been covered from a government or not-for-profit organization as far as attention to this issue.
The GUTTMACHER INSTITUTE just published a paper on December 1, 2011 that is available in PDF format. It is titled State Policies in Brief and has good information about Sex and STD education laws in each State. One thing I noticed (with suprise) is that some States have a parental consent form for HIV education. WTF? I really recommend reading this report. There are hyperlinks to sources at the end.
So, the question continues. What else can we do to prepare our kids to make responsible decisions regarding their health? Can we do anything more except offer “Last Chance” solutions (Plan B) to some of the issue they may face?
Please post any links or insights you think may contribute to the discussion.