President Trump visited the Florida communities devastated by Hurricane Michael on Monday, but while the needs are great, the head of the American Red Cross says relief workers are up to the challenge.
Hurricane Michael formed off the western coast of Cuba last week and then roared ashore in the Florida panhandle at nearly Category Five strength, effectively destroying some towns.
“This is one of the worst that I’ve seen because it was a hurricane that sort of behaved like a tornado,” said American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern.
The storm then behaved more like a hurricane as it moved into Georgia and Alabama and up to the Carolinas and Virginia.
“It’s just heartbreaking. I have to say our hearts go out to anyone who was impacted by Hurricane Michael. It was really devastating. Schools are gone, homes are gone, businesses are gone,” said McGovern.
The Red Cross prepositions supplies in preparation for disasters like this and tries to shuttle in relief workers as well. She says this storm is very personal for some of their volunteers.
“We have employees and volunteers who are in the impacted area year-round. We don’t pack up and go home. This is our home,” said McGovern.
While well-prepared, McGovern says there are pressing needs.
“The roads have debris on them, the power is out, communication is challenging because some of the cell towers are out. It’s been quite a challenge on the ground,” said McGovern.
To date, the Red Cross is operating 27 shelters in the Florida panhandle. At the peak, 10,000 people were staying in them. More than 125,000 meals and snacks have already been given out.
Listen to the full podcast to hear more about the challenges in Florida and other areas devastated by Hurricane Michael and find out the various ways you can help those in need.