Red Cross: Shelters Open for Sandy Victims

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An American Red Cross Disaster Service Mobile Command Center sits outside of the 2012 Long Island/New York City Emergency Management Conference

If layers of clothing and a bundle of blankets aren’t doing the job, the Red Cross has a suggestion for blacked-out Long Islanders: Get to a shelter.

With nearly 200,000 LIPA customers still without power and temperatures dipping to the 30s Tuesday night, the Red Cross is urging residents to take advantage of the heat and warm food being offered at any one of its five shelters throughout Long Island.

“Look it’s been getting colder, colder and colder since Thursday. We are now at the point where someone is without power for eight days, the most that their house could be is 50 degrees,” said local Red Cross spokesman Craig Cooper. “So now you put on top of that an elderly person…we’re talking hypothermia, we’re talking serious, serious, problems…get to a shelter, find some place to stay warm.”

For more Hurricane Sandy Updates, click here.

The relief agency said 1,300 people are currently occupying its shelters, down from about 2,200 at the height of Hurricane Sandy last week.

The agency said the number of people taking up residence in the shelters has been steady. But Cooper said he’s concerned that more people aren’t showing up, considering the frigid temperatures that blew through the Island the last few days.

“It got down to 32 degrees [Monday] night,” he said, “what’s going to happen over the next couple of days?”

Red Cross volunteers have been driving around devastated areas with food and a helping hand, Cooper said. But blankets have been the item people displaced by the storm or suffering from outages have been seeking out the most.

The shelters at Walt Whitman High School, Robert Frost Middle School, Nassau County Community College, Sachem East High School and Levittown Memorial Special Education Center are capable of bringing in more people, Cooper said.

To donate to the Red Cross call 1-800-Red-Cross or click here.