Disney to donate $2 million for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

The Walt Disney Co. on Thursday announced plans to donate $2 million to efforts to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The U.S. death toll from the storm rose to 75 overnight Wednesday, and about 2.5 million remained without power in metropolitan New York, especially on Long Island, where state officials rushed 1,900 utility workers to assist the Long Island Power Authority, the L.A. Times reported.

Of the $2-million commitment from Disney, half will be donated to the American Red Cross for “immediate, critical assistance,” with the rest earmarked for organizations working on rebuilding efforts, according to the Burbank-based studio, which also has major operations in Glendale.

The company also announced that it would match employee donations for disaster relief through its foundation. Disney also said it planned to run public service announcements in support of relief efforts on its slate of broadcast networks, including ESPN and ABC.

PHOTOS: Hurricane Sandy destruction

“It’s hard to fathom the devastation from this storm,” Robert Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “Thousands of people in the hurricane’s path lost everything and face the daunting challenge of putting their lives and communities back together. We hope this helps provide immediate aid needed to get through this disaster and begin the road to recovery.”

Despite the destruction, there were some positive developments. LaGuardia Airport reopened on Thursday, the last of New York's major airports to resume operations. Schedules are still limited after almost 20,000 flights were canceled this week. Along with the airports, Broadway theaters reopened, as did the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

There were also touching moments of the community spirit that often shows itself during a crisis, scenes similar to the days immediately after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Forced again to rely on their feet, masses of New Yorkers took solace from one other on Thursday as they walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to work.

Los Angeles Times staff writers contributed to this report.

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