The following post was written by Jennifer Adrio, CEO of the Kentucky Region Red Cross, as part of an update of her deployment. Jennifer deployed to North Carolina last weekend as part of relief efforts for Hurricane Matthew.
Today marks day five for me on the ground in North Carolina. I drive every day to Robeson County as well as another eight counties which were heavily impacted by Hurricane Matthew.
Upon arrival on Monday in Robeson County, we had close to 1,000 people staying in five shelters. This area continues to be challenging for many individuals and families, as the flooding in this area has resulted in complete devastation. Nearly three weeks since the storms have passed, many remain unable to get to their homes due to high waters persisting, significant mold and damage which many homes cannot be salvaged; and in some instances, having alligators in their yards.
Today we consolidated to two shelters which are hosting around 300 people. Schools will resume on Monday. But, the recovery phase still has a long way to go.
|From left to right: Jennifer, Elmer, Lori, and Bobby|
I've seen our emergency response vehicles (from California, Oregon and even our own from Kentucky) at every turn, feeding and assisting people multiple times a day. I've met volunteers from Hawaii, Tennessee, West Virginia and New York. This is Red Cross voluntarism at its finest! Most volunteers are sleeping in staff shelters on cots. Amazing heart and dedication! The attached photo is of Red Cross volunteers who are helping manage a shelter. Elmer is from New Jersey and Lori and Bobby are from Texas.
My main role is working with local elected officials to ensure we are meeting community needs, listening and responding. At the end of the day, it's about the people who need help and how all of us - Red Cross, local government, and countless other partner groups - can and need to work together to make a difference and help people get back on their feet.
This weekend, we will be assisting people as they begin to clean up their homes, find their belongings and offer hope through assistance.