East Texas Relief Worker In Florida - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/4/04-East Texas

East Texas Relief Worker In Florida

With the downgrade to a level 2 hurricane, Frances could still cause the same amount of damage as hurricane Charley did just a few weeks ago.

KLTV spoke by phone Saturday to East Texan Susan Campbell who is in West Palm Beach.  Campbell is a disaster relief specialist for the Red Cross based out of Tyler.  We spoke with her just hours before the first wave of the storm came through about the situation.

"We have over 700 people sheltered (in West Palm Beach) so we're way over capacity and there are 27 shelters in this county alone, so they are all at capacity or over, so the good news is that people listened."

Campbell is stationed at an elementary school designed for winds of up to 200 miles an hour.  She says those at the shelter are safe from the weather, but in for a long night.

"We are probably going to be in this for another 12 hours, they are expecting over a foot of water so there could be flooding.. we're trying to keep the mood up."

Campbell has seen the devastation a hurricane can cause.  She arrived in Florida just a day after Charley hit, she couldn't believe the damage.

"Charley was quite a sight to see because I didn't expect the devastation that I saw and the amount of people that needed help," she said.  "I don't think I've ever seen so much damage.. they had to have bulldozers go down the street so we could get in and do our damage assessment."

With two storms in just three weeks Campbell says many Floridians are ready for a change.

"You have these that went through Andrew and are just ready to get out, other people are new and say 'I'm leaving' and others who just weather it.. It's just part of living in Florida."

Campbell was set to come back to Texas on Friday.  She volunteered to stay a few extra days to help people in the Frances aftermath.  She hopes to come home early next week.

Chris Gibson, reporting
cgibson@kltv.com

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