JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The American Red Cross in Jacksonville continues to actively help with the recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence.
The storm is long gone but the damage and devastation still remains in the Carolinas.
The American Red Cross reported the hurricane dumped roughly 10 trillion gallons of water across the two states. While many have been able to return to their homes to start rebuilding, more than 900 people are still relying on Red Cross shelters for food and a dry place to stay.
The American Red Cross of Northeast Florida has sent a total of 54 volunteers and four emergency response vehicles to the Carolinas to help since Hurricane Florence caused widespread damage.
Some of those volunteers have returned, while others just went up there to start helping with recovery.
Video from hurricane-ravaged neighborhoods in North Carolina show waist-deep flooding with roads entirely under water, fallen trees and downed power-lines.
“They lost everything,” Carl Gill said. He volunteers with the American Red Cross of North Florida and spent several days working in a shelter in Wallace, North Carolina after Hurricane Florence hit. This was about 40 miles north of Wilmington, near the storm’s landfall.
The conditions were really bad, Gill said.
“The smell in Wallace was incredible; it truly was, because unlike Irma which I did in St. Augustine, there was no sea breeze to get rid of the stench. You only had to go half mile out of town and you’re in five feet of water. Most of the houses there were up to the rooftops in water,” Gill said.
The damage left nearly 1,000 people in the Carolinas unable to return to their homes- many of whom remain in American Red Cross Shelters.
To date, they’ve served more than 1.28 million meals.
“We’ve been able to send some of our staff members to be subject matter experts and help teams in North Carolina and South Carolina get ready to respond to the hurricanes as they come through and so our experience here (in Jacksonville) has been invaluable to the teams in North Carolina,” said Gerald Thomas, the Regional CEO of North Florida.
Despite the strong resources, Thomas said there is still a lot of work to be done to help the families in need left picking up the pieces.
There are several ways people can help. You can donate by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or by texting 9099 FLORENCE to make a $10 donation. The American Red Cross is also always looking for volunteers to help.