East Texas Chapter of American Red Cross responds to Florida after Hurricane Ian
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - When it comes to recovery efforts, emergency responders from East Texas are already in Florida.
“It’s a long road but all of our volunteers and all of our staff are willing to make it just to make the lives of Floridians a little bit easier,” said Doyle Rader, regional communications manager of the American Red Cross.
The American Red Cross is one organization sending East Texans to Florida for relief.
Rader said they are sending people from North Texas ranging from the panhandle to East Texas.
He said they already have over 500 people on the ground in Florida and have opened hundreds of shelters.
“I believe it was Tuesday night we had over 13,000 people staying in shelters and that’s before the storm even hit, and we have the capacity to house over 60,000 people in Florida right now alone,” said Rader.
Rader said one of 12 emergency response vehicles will depart from Longview for Florida later today.
Texas Baptist Men is another organization that expects to send about one thousand volunteers over the coming weeks.
Associate executive director, John-Travis Smith, said they will be feeding the displaced people.
“We’re also taking our big command center so we’re going to be directing a lot of the traffic and helping some of our partner groups find the most efficient ways to help people and who needs the help the fastest, and get that to them,” said Smith.
He said they will also be sending out their electronic support unit that will have generators and wi-fi access.
They also anticipate doing flood recovery where they get into people’s homes.
“And helping them get rid of all the contaminants and things that they have too so they can get back to rebuilding,” said Smith.
Smith said they are there to help people and bring help, hope and healing.
“Instead of just talking about things, we want to go there and actually just be there with people, shoulder their burden and help them in a physical way,” said Smith.
Once a disaster assessment has taken place, crews will go out into the community to help with recovery efforts and aid to those in need.
Both organizations say they will remain on the ground for as long as it takes.
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