News / USA

US Launches Huge Hurricane Response as Irene Arrives

Rains and waves from Hurricane Irene batter the shore in downtown Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, August 26, 2011
Rains and waves from Hurricane Irene batter the shore in downtown Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, August 26, 2011
Sean Maroney

The federal and state governments, as well as humanitarian agencies and local groups up and down much of the eastern United States, are in the middle of a massive storm response, as Hurricane Irene makes landfall.

Weather forecasters expect the storm's center to focus on the heavily populated corridor from Washington to New York.  The storm already has killed at least one person in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic and destroyed homes in The Bahamas.

U.S. officials are not taking any chances as Hurricane Irene moves up America's east coast with the potential of affecting 65 million people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Major airports are closing down for the storm, and train services in parts of the eastern U.S. are suspended.  Authorities also ordered a quarter of a million people to leave low-lying areas of New York, marking the city's first-ever mass evacuation.  In addition, officials closed the city's entire public transit system for the first time.

A few hours ahead of Irene's early Saturday landfall in North Carolina, state authorities were reporting flooding, power outages and tornado warnings.

Speaking from the eastern part of the state, American Red Cross spokesman Chris Osborne told VOA he and his fellow relief workers were forced to join those evacuating from the coast.  But he said that despite the challenges, his organization was working at full speed.

Osborne said, "We've got probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 people or so in various shelters.  There's probably more than a dozen shelters open in the North Carolina area.  And we've got some 70-plus shelters that are on standby, so certainly lots of areas for people who are evacuating."

Osborne says the Red Cross has workers from North Carolina in the south, all the way north past New York.  While they are focused mainly on providing the basics of food, shelter and water, he says they have many other tools at their disposal, especially for those who might lose everything.

He said, "We have trained counselors that help people deal with the emotional needs that arise sometimes from these kinds of disasters, so just a wide gambit of resources."

Irene is the first hurricane to seriously threaten the United States in three years.  It also hits at the six-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, whose flooding killed more than 1,800 people and forced more than a million residents from their homes in the southeastern United States.

The federal response to Katrina was widely criticized as slow and mismanaged, and Osborne says the Red Cross is mindful of that as they mobilize against Irene.

Osborne said, "Every disaster is different.  Every disaster is a learning opportunity.  We think we learned a lot from Hurricane Katrina, and we think we're better positioned and better ready to serve the people who need us."

He says the Red Cross is working very closely with community partners and government agencies in the relief efforts.  U.S. President Barack Obama also has directed federal agencies to ensure all the needed resources are available.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid