ORLANDO, Fla. Volunteers from all over the country are in the Southeast right now, helping people get through the disaster of Hurricane Irma.
September 9, 2017. Miami, Florida. American Red Cross shelter at Jorge Mas Canosa Middle School in Miami Dade. Elio Falcon, school principal, said "The Red Cross and the National Guard have been wonderful; all of our shelter residents feel safe here". Mr. Falcon estimates about 1,600 people stayed at the shelter overnight. Photo by Luis Beltran/American Red Cross
Nigel Holderby is with the Red Cross. She used to work in Springfield, now works in Colorado, but is currently down in an Orlando Shelter helping out. She says about 208,000 people sought refuge in one of the 680 government or Red Cross evacuation centers in Georgia, Florida, or elsewhere.
The winds have died down, and people in these shelters are itching to get out, get back home, and figure out how bad their homes have been damaged, and if they're still standing. But, Nigel says, the Office of Emergency Management can't let everyone out on the streets right now, "What we've been really advising folks is to listen to the reports coming out of the state and local officials. They'll give that all clear. What we're looking at now is the amount of damage that may be the trees down on the roads and the roads that are impassable, and really giving the emergency crew and the workers that are out there trying to clear those roads a time frame that they're able to do that without traffic impeding that."
Nigel also says, those much-needed shelters wouldn't be possible without the power of all these volunteers and the generosity of donors, "As I've been here watching these volunteers be assigned these jobs, and filling these places of need, these are people who have given up time from their families, their lives back home to come here to the Florida area to really help those who need it most. So, that power is amazing to see first hand on the ground. It's very impactful."
If you want to help the Red Cross in their response to Irma, it's easy. You can simply text "REDCROSS" to 90999. That will make a $10 donation to their disaster relief.