'It's just devastating that we're here 16 years later,' | Charlotte aid workers prepare to help with Hurricane Ida relief

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On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Samaritan’s Purse and the American Red Cross are deploying help from NC after Hurricane Ida

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina aid workers are prepared to assist on the ground in Louisiana following the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.  

Organizations like the Greater Carolinas Region of the American Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse are ready to help with shelter, water, food, and medical care. WCNC learned crews are on standby, positioned strategically in various states around Louisiana, so they could go in as soon as it’s safe to do so. 

The Samaritan’s Purse deployed its large disaster relief truck from North Carolina with a stop in Alabama.

“We will stage those folks in Alabama this evening so that as soon as it’s safe to move from there, they’ll be moving in tomorrow,” said Poss.

The Samaritan’s Purse is also sending a shower trailer, a supply trailer and even its Charlotte-based spiritual group to help people deal with loss, Poss said.

“We have our plastic tarps that we’ll be able to put on houses to provide temporary roof repair,” said Poss, “[We’re also] going in and removing the waterlogged furnishings and personal belongings, and then we open up the walls so that the water is removed and the walls begin to dry out.”

Poss said in in the humid south, workers will fight against mold growing in homes. Volunteers will also have chainsaws to help with downed trees.

The American Red Cross for the Greater Carolinas region is also sending help. Regional executive Allison Taylor says the American Red Cross is opening evacuation shelters, and some volunteers are coming from North Carolina.

“[We’re] repositioning people, as well as prepositioning things like cots and ready to eat meals, comfort kits and blankets,” said Taylor, “All those things that we know people are going to need.”

Taylor says to keep the shelters running safely – COVID-19 guidelines will be in place.

“It may look a little different for the people who would enter an evacuation shelter,” Taylor said, “We are asking people to wear masks, we’re encouraging social distancing.” 

For both the American Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse, this may feel like de Ja Vu. Sixteen years ago, both organizations were helping in the same area with Hurricane Katrina relief.

In fact, Poss with the Samaritan’s Purse says the relationships created with churches and local groups during Katrina will be useful once again for Hurricane Ida.

“It’s just devastating that we’re here 16 years later,” said Poss, “We’re doing the same thing again.” 

Both organizations depend on volunteers and donations. The Red Cross says it also needs people to donate blood because blood drives in those hard-hit areas have stopped.

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