portsmouth-dailytimes.com

Locals help with Issac aftermath

G. Sam Piatt, PDT Staff Writer

September 1, 2012

WAYNE ALLEN


PDT Staff Writer


The Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross has sent three people to help with Hurricane Issac and aftermath.


Tom Frazier, Eli Allen and John Lykins are the local Red Cross volunteers that have been sent south.


“Frazier and Lykins have been along the Gulf Cost for a week. That’s when they were doing the staging, setting up everything anticipating the storm would hit Florida,” said Mary Arnzen, Executive Director of the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. “I heard from them the other day and they are doing fine and really enjoying what they are doing, helping people.”


Arnzen said Frazier, Allen and Lykins will stay there for three weeks.


According to information provided by the Red Cross, “As Isaac’s floodwaters recede and people begin to return to their neighborhoods, the American Red Cross is moving into community after community along the Gulf Coast, ramping up mobile feeding efforts and handing out relief supplies, while continuing to shelter those who still need a safe place to stay. Mobile kitchens capable of making thousands of meals a day are setting up in the affected areas.”


More than 3,000 Red Cross disaster workers from all over the United States have been deployed to the Gulf region to help.


“I believe there were 433 volunteer positions opened the other day. That is broadcasted through our intranet, once that is spelled out then all of the chapters apply for those positions and send volunteers,” Arnzen said. “It’s important for us to have people ready to go, and represent our community.”


She said most of the time when there is a big event local volunteers are sent.


“We have about 100 disaster action team members but, not everybody likes to deploy. Then there are some people that love to deploy,” Arnzen said. “It’s important for us to have people that want to go.”


Arnzen said it’s important to note it takes certain training to be a member of the local disaster action team.


“If someone is interested in helping in the future, they need to come and see us to get trained. The training usually takes about a month,” Arnzen said.


According to information provided by the Red Cross a a result of Issac, more than 4,200 people stayed in 60 Red Cross or community shelters Friday night across six states. Three-quarters of last night’s shelter residents were in Louisiana; Mississippi had the next highest shelter population with just under a quarter of the total shelter population.


“We’re estimating that this massive relief operation for Isaac could cost as much as tens of millions of dollars, and our costs are growing by the hour,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services in a released statement. “We haven’t raised anywhere near the millions of dollars we will need to pay for our efforts. The public has always come through when Americans needed help and we are counting on them now.”


To make a donation to the nation Red Cross visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or wallen@heartlandpublications.com.