Red Cross of Virginia sending help to Florida after hurricane
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Help is on the way to Florida from Virginia. The Red Cross of Virginia is preparing teams to help after Idalia churns through the southern U.S.
They are sending teams down to Florida to help those impacted by the destruction left behind from the Category 3 hurricane slammed into the sunshine state this morning.
As of now, 400 volunteers from the Red Cross, eight of which are from Virginia, will be on site, working with those who need it most.
"In areas that are in the path of this storm, supporting 17 emergency shelters that have been opened up. and then over the day to come, we will be going into these neighborhoods with our emergency response vehicles, to deliver hot meals, clean up and relief supplies, as well as health services and disaster mental health, which will be a critical part as we help these families start the recovery process,” said Jonathan McNamara, communications director for the Red Cross of Virginia.
More volunteers from the state are anticipated to join within days.
"So, I can say from first-hand, I deployed to the last storm that hit the Panhandle and saw first-hand just how extensive the damage can be after these types of events, but also saw first-hand on just how critical the relief from the Red Cross can be to families who have lost their homes. And in many of these areas, the infrastructure will be significantly damaging. Communications will be challenging. Power will be likely out,” McNamara said.
McNamara says that this is where the experience of the Red Cross and their volunteers can make a big impact by helping these families.
He says that they are anticipating this to be a multi-month response because of the scope of damage to these communities. And this comes at a time when the Red Cross has been responding to nearly twice as many disasters as they did 10 years go.
"As a result of the climate crisis in this country, we've seen 15 $1 billion disasters in the first half of this year. That's required the Red Cross to a variety of different challenges across the country. We still have volunteers deployed to Maui. We have volunteers who have supported storms in Guam, in California, the northeast when it was impacted by flooding. So when you step back and really understand the full scope of this and the impact that it has on the organizations like the Red Cross, that's why our message to people across the state about the importance of joining our teams as a volunteer is so critical,” said McNamara.
McNamara says that the Red Cross has staging areas across the state of Florida, and within the next 12 to 24 hours, there will be a clearer picture of what specific areas need the most help.
The Red Cross will also be supporting and sending people to Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, which could also see damage from Idalia’s path.