LYNCHBURG, Va (WFXR) — As Florida is left with the aftermath of catastrophic hurricane Ian, rescue relief organizations throughout the Commonwealth are gearing up to bring aid and assistance to the sunshine state.
Following the destruction from Hurricane Ian, many families in Florida are left displaced. Red Cross Virginia and God’s Pit Crew are taking action to help those who have been impacted. Jonathan McNamara, from The Red Cross, says the first and most important task is to make sure people are safe.
“Right now the focus is on making sure people have access to a place to stay that is safe access to medical first aid, disaster mental health care, but we know that over time their needs are going to change and that when we have to be nimble and flexible as an organization,” said McNamara.
The American Red Cross currently has 1,400 immediate responders in Florida, 15 of which come from Virginia. McNamara says he expects this number to rise.
“We’re anticipating this to be a very long recovery effort and we’re going to need additional volunteers from the state of Virginia to make sure that this effort can continue for the long haul,” McNamara said.
God’s Pit Crew out of Danville is deploying upwards of 75 volunteers to Florida. Brandon Nuckles from God’s Pit Crew says once they hit the ground they’ll assess the destruction and begin the clean-up process.
“Chainsaw work, tree removal, debris removal, tarp rooves, muck out houses, dry houses, and ultimately just demo houses that are just not salvageable at this time,” said Nuckles.
Both organizations say they expect this to be a long-term relief process. They say the best way for them to help is to ask and listen.
“Really listening to the people on the ground who’ve been impacted by this storm because that’s the best way you can determine what assistance is needed is to talk to people who’ve been impacted,” said McNamara.
Although it may be a while before many impacted families fully recover from the damages caused by hurricane Ian, Nuckles says — for the time being — even the little stuff can make a big difference.
“You know it may just be as small as a blessing bucket that has some hygiene products, some food, some different items, but to that person who’s lost everything– it is everything,” Nuckles said.