Thousands are now residing in temporary shelters after Hurricane Florence flooded parts of North and South Carolina.
Red Cross volunteers from all around the country have been dispatched including local volunteers from the Greater Chesapeake region who will be departing every several days to help with the disaster recovery operation.
Don Trent, a Red Cross volunteer from Howard County, left Wednesday afternoon.
Trent first started volunteering with the Red Cross immediately following Hurricane Katrina.
“It was eye-awakening to see the destruction that was done there,” said Trent.
He helped with hurricanes last year and individual tragedies in Howard County. Now he's being deployed to Durham, North Carolina, where once again, he'll try to bring comfort in a time of uncertainty.
“The mindset is: What do I do next? Where am I going to be? Where am I going to eat? Where are my kids going to go to school? How’s my car, how’s my family, how’s my pets? Everything,” said Trent. “Imagine getting up in the morning just walking outside with nothing on and saying okay, what am I going to do?”
According to the Red Cross, 11,000 people are being housed in 100 plus shelters around the Carolinas. Forty-three local red crossers will be assisting with disaster response including shelter set-up, maintenance, and emotional recovery.
“There’s not much you can do with water so we have to wait for the water to recede. The water is still rising in these cases, there are volunteers and people who have been evacuated that are facing very tough natural conditions not only just dirty standing water but things in that water, such as snakes, alligators,” said Richard McIntire, regional communications officer with the American Red Cross, Greater Chesapeake Region.
Many are still without power and air conditioning. These are challenging circumstances for anyone, but Trent's mission is also to bring hope and remind those affected that they'll get through this with a little help.
“It’s part of being human, helping people whenever you can. You know, it doesn’t matter who they are down there, just go help someone out because if you’re helping them out, if you need it up here, I’m sure someone will help you,” Trent said.
The American Red Cross is seeking blood and financial donations.
“Giving blood is very essential at this point because there are over 200 blood drives previously scheduled that were interrupted, so there are over 2,000 units or more of blood that were not collected because of the storms and flooding have interrupted them,” said McIntire.
If you’d like to make a financial donation or schedule a blood donation, call 1-800-RED-CROSS. You can make an online donation by visiting RedCross.org or you can make a text donation of $10 by texting FLORENCE to 90999.