With Wednesday being the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Isaac making landfall in the same areas hit hardest by the 2005 hurricane, the American Red Cross has launched a large disaster response to help those being exposed to heavy rains, strong winds, flooding and coastal surges.
The Red Cross has sent 2,500 disaster workers to the areas hardest hit, according to Tom Dunn, the Surry County emergency services specialist, however, as of yet no one from Surry County is lined up to go aid in the disaster effort.
There are 14 disaster workers leaving from the American Red Cross region that covers West Wilkes, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga in addition to Surry.
He said he can’t send anyone down for this hurricane who has not been properly trained. He said for those who want to get the training, they would be able to be sent to the next hurricane if help from this area is needed.
In addition to volunteers, the Red Cross has prepared 290,000 ready-to-eat meals and activated 187 emergency response vehicles. The Red Cross is partnering with civic groups, churches and advocacy organizations who can share their expertise and volunteers.
Dunn said there are no plans to send supplies as of yet, but donations are always welcome.
Billy Blakley, director of the Surry Baptist Association, said he is not aware of anyone in this area who is going down to help. He said if volunteers do go, it will be under the umbrella of the North Carolina Baptist Convention. He said if someone would like to volunteer, the person also would have to undergo training where certification badges are received, and the person also would need to be a member of the NC Baptist Men.
“They won’t even let us in there without the proper badges,” said Blakley.
He also said that organization is willing to take donations for those who want to help hurricane victims.
Capt. Mike Rodgers with the Salvation Army said he has been put on alert to be ready to go, but he hadn’t received the call to go as of Wednesday. He said he has friends in South Carolina who have been put on alert to go as well. Rodgers said he has been to about all of the hurricanes on the east coast to assist with recovery efforts.
“There are certain areas nobody can go. We tend to work in shifts,” said Rodgers.
Reach Mondee Tilley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1930.