Nova Scotia

Atlantic Red Cross workers helping with Sandy cleanup

Nine people from Atlantic Canada are on the ground in New York and New Jersey, U.S.A., helping with the cleanup after Superstorm Sandy.

Volunteers shocked by extent of the damage

Volunteer Dan Bedell stands beside some of the piles of furniture, appliances and other belongings tossed from homes due to mold, mildew and other contamination concerns on Thanksgiving Day in Ship Bottom, N.J. (Courtesy Dan Bedell)

Nine people from Atlantic Canada are on the ground in New York and New Jersey helping with the cleanup after Superstorm Sandy.

Dan Bedell, a spokesperson for the Red Cross in the Atlantic region, travelled to Tinton Falls last week and was shocked by what he saw.

"When I think of events like Hurricane Juan, and some of the serious flooding that we've seen in New Brunswick, you see damaged homes and damaged infrastructure, what I’m seeing here is just off the charts in comparison to all of those things," he said.

Hurricane Sandy hit the coast on Oct. 29, ripping apart homes and flooding communities.

"I've walked through communities where it's incredible to see gas lines sticking up out of the ground and obviously all of the power lines are just in the process of being restored," he said.

"This isn’t just one street or neighbourhood like this. It looks the same street after street, town after town, and along the entire length of the New Jersey coast, from Atlantic City in the south to Newark in the north."

Bedell has been operating as a communications expert in the United States. He directs people to areas where they can find shelter and food.

He said other Nova Scotian volunteers spent the last week helping to close the emergency shelters.

"All of the shelters in New Jersey have now closed," he said. "That was really a big step. They all closed on the eve before Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A., which meant that at least everybody has found another location to go to."

While many of the new accommodations aren't permanent, he said it's a big improvement.

"At least they're no longer on a cot in a shelter somewhere."

Bedell said so far the Red Cross has served more than 6.9 million meals and snacks, and over 4.3 million relief items like buckets, shovels, diapers and baby food.

Five people from the crew are from Nova Scotia, two are from New Brunswick and another two are from the St. John's area in Newfoundland.

The team is scheduled to stay until the end of the month.