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Wisconsin Sends Its Top Disaster Official To St. Thomas For Hurricane Recovery ‘Because It Will Get Full Power First’

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – The Wisconsin Red Cross is sending its top disaster official to assist with relief efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands after hurricanes Irma and Maria hit.

Marytha “Crazy Eyes” Blanchard will spend three weeks in St. Thomas distributing emergency supplies, reuniting families and providing hurricane victims with food and shelter. She will not visit St. Croix or St. John.

Blanchard said staying in St. Thomas will present challenges, given phone signals are spotty and clean water is still an issue.

The disaster official said that in her many years of helping with relief efforts, she has never been told to pack mosquito nets and chlorine tablets.

Despite the 12-hour shifts and uncertainly of where she will stay, Blanchard said she is looking forward to helping those in need.

“This is really why I joined the Red Cross and what I’ve been trained for, so I’m really happy to go over and help and do what I can to make things as comfortable as possible, making sure people are getting what they need,” Blanchard said.

Blanchard will be joining roughly 730 other Red Cross disaster workers who are currently in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico assisting with relief efforts.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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