The Red Cross is calling on the media to get out the word
on the need for blood donations post-Irene.
The issue was not injuries, but the fact that the storm
cancelled over 60 planned blood drives in the affected areas, which were meant
to boost the already low supply, a Red Cross official told reporters on a
conference call Monday.
Broadcasters have historically made promoting such
campaigns a part of their public service mission. FEMA's Disaster Relief
Funding has also dipped below $1 billion, though FEMA administrator Craig
Fugate said any work already underway -- repairs and rebuilding left over from
Katrina, for instance -- will not be affected, but no new projects will be
started as FEMA deals with the impact of Irene.
Broadcasters will have to balance such efforts with
continuing coverage of the storm, however. While Irene may be done with the U.S.,
coverage of the recovery and rebuilding will be a continuing story, and it will
still be a breaking news story for stations in New England. According to
David Vallee, who monitors rivers for the National Weather Service, flooding
continues to be a threat for Eastern New York, Vermont and Connecticut, with
some rivers not expected to crest until mid-week.
"NAB and local broadcasters have always had a great partnership with the Red Cross," said National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton. "As we help communities in the clean-up from Irene, rest assured sure that stations will also be helping get out the message for the Red Cross."
At press time, the Ad Council, which helps put together broadcasters with ad agencies to create PSA campaigns for worthy causes, had no plans for a blood drive PSA campaign, according to a spokesperson.