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Update: Local Red Cross Volunteers May Deploy to Other Parts of the Gulf

Around 30 local American Red Cross volunteers are in Florida to help in the Hurricane Isaac relief efforts there. As the storm moves inland, workers are preparing to help the worst hit areas all over the Gulf, including the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark has this update.

 

According to the Associated Press, Hurricane Isaac is slowly moving inland after it made landfall in Louisiana at about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday night near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Nigal Holderby, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross Southern Missouri Region, talked with some of the local volunteers about their role in Florida.

“They had had tornadoes, they were taking shelter and making sure that the people that were there with them, staff, volunteers, that everyone was safe. When I talked to him yesterday he did talk about now that things are changing—disaster changes so quickly and sometimes it’s a slow change, which we’ve seen this moving very slowly across the area—but we are preparing to move volunteers from areas that may not have as much of a need for resources to the areas that will be more heavily in the direct line of the storm.”

Holderby says she also worked a shift as -- quote --“a digital volunteer” this week with other local Red Cross volunteers. That means she monitored social media to stay up-to-date on what Gulf Coast residents were saying about the storm. She offered her expertise to them on how to stay safe and prepared.  

“As a digital volunteer, some of the things I saw last night were just anticipation of the unknown and not knowing what will happen and how things can change and being scared and offering some digital hugs and offering some information about Red Cross services.”

David Sewell is a Disaster Services Technology Manager for the Red Cross. He travels all over the country putting technology in place to help those in need after disasters strike. At the moment, he's in Orlando, Florida, where we reached him by phone.

“We are ready to, speaking for the job in general, they are ready to re-deploy people to the areas that need them most. Possibly in the panhandle of Florida, or some of the other states like Louisiana or Mississippi that might need help after landfall occurs.”

The National Weather Service reports that the storm has wind speeds of up to 75 mph.

For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.

ANCHOR TAG:  You can visit http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ for more information and the latest updates on the storm’s activity.