Red Cross deploys volunteers to disaster areas

JEA sends crews to help; Northeast Florida volunteers head to Georgia

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Weekend storms that blew through Southeast Georgia left at least 20 dead, over 100 injured and two people still missing.

The numbers make it the deadliest January tornado outbreak since records began.

American Red Cross disaster teams are already on the ground providing shelter, food, relief supplies and other support to help people across the affected areas. The American Red Cross of Northeast Florida sent more disaster relief efforts Tuesday morning to assist in Georgia.

Logistics supervisor Melanie Mingia left Jacksonville to help organize disaster relief efforts in Adel and Albany, Georgia.

“It's devastating. It's very heart-wrenching for all of us. We can't imagine what these clients are going through at this difficult time in their lives,” Mingia said.

Dozens of tornadoes and severe weather over two days left a path of destruction in areas of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida. Fifteen people were killed in South Georgia.

At least 750 homes were either damaged or destroyed by the storms, and that number could exceed 1,000 once all areas are safe to enter and damage assessments are completed.

“Red Cross disaster volunteers across the country are responding to severe weather with comfort and support for people whose lives have been interrupted and turned upside down,” said Brad Kieserman, Red Cross vice president of disaster operations and logistics. “Families are just beginning to cope with the devastation, and that means our work is just beginning. We will be there, in multiple affected states, standing alongside our partners as these communities recover.”

JEA is also responding with assistance to several communities to help restore power. As part of its mutual-aid agreement with utilities throughout the state, JEA is sending five "troubleshooters" with service trucks to assist Tallahassee in its restoration efforts.

In addition, JEA is sending eight four-man crews to Electric Cities of Georgia. Tallahassee's electric utility reported that approximately 30,000 customers were without power after the storm. Crews are also working to clear downed trees in the area.

To donate to help the American Red Cross Disaster Relief help the people affected, visit RedCross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

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