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${esc.dollar}400 mln raised by charities working on Sandy relief in New York

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 3 Jan 2013 23:57 GMT
Author: Reuters
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By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Charities working on Superstorm Sandy relief in New York have raised at least ${esc.dollar}400 million, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Thursday.

Starting in November, Schneiderman contacted 90 charities that helped after the late October devastation, asking them to complete a survey detailing the amount they raised and how it was being spent.

As of Thursday, 88 had obliged and their responses were posted on a website run by the attorney general, Schneiderman said the charities' information had not been checked for accuracy.

"As we continue to monitor charitable activities related to Sandy relief, it is essential that nonprofit organizations operate in the most transparent way possible," Schneiderman said in a statement.

Of the 88 charities that responded, the American Red Cross raised the most money, with ${esc.dollar}188 million donated to Sandy efforts as of Dec. 10. Those funds have helped it serve more than 8.7 million meals and snacks and provide more than 81,000 shelter stays, among other services, in 11 states affected by the storm, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the charity said in its response.

It said its emergency relief efforts through the end of December 2012 will ultimately cost about ${esc.dollar}110 million. Once that work is complete, it will spend any surplus funds to address longer-term needs in affected communities, it said.

Sandy relief efforts dominated headlines earlier this week when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and other Republicans strongly criticized House Speaker John Boehner for canceling a vote on a ${esc.dollar}60 billion package to help storm victims in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

After the outcry, Boehner said the House will deal with the relief package by mid-January.

Officials in New Jersey and Connecticut, two other states hurt by the storm, were unable to provide similar fundraising figures on Thursday. (Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Steve Orlofsky)

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