Local red cross staff and volunteers help recovery and preparations in Louisiana

Local red cross staff and volunteers help recovery and preparations in Louisiana
17 days after Hurricane Laura roared ashore, 100,000 utility customers remain without power and 20,000 people are being sheltered by the American Red Cross. (Source: WDAM)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - On the ground in southern Louisiana, James Jarvis said “the damage has been incredible. In terms of, you know, I’ve driven sixty miles and seen every power pole laying on the ground.”

17 days after Hurricane Laura roared ashore, 100,000 utility customers remain without power and 20,000 people are being sheltered by the American Red Cross.

Jarvis is the Executive Director of the Cape Fear Area Chapter.

Sunday was his ninth day in Louisiana serving as a liaison between local communities and red cross staff. He finds out where people are in need of help, what they need and how to get it to them.

He’s supporting the local red cross leadership in the same fashion as others helped him in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

However, as Tropical Storm Sally approaches New Orleans, recovery is now on pause for another round of storm preparations.

“Part of what we’re doing in those shelters -- In New Orleans, where we have 13,000 people -- is making sure we have plenty of non-perishable food, making sure we have plenty of water," he said. "Because they’re going to have to hunker down in those hotels. So, they’re hunkering down from a second storm when they’re there because they’re recovering from the first storm.”

Jarvis said the Red Cross needs more volunteers all over the country.

“We’ve got 2,100 volunteers on the ground right now in a COVID environment in Louisiana and Texas here to help," he said. "We’re going to need more people. Quite frankly, we’re going to rapidly reach the capacity where we can’t ask more of the people we have. We’ve got to get more people in the door.”

He urges anyone considering it to go ahead and sign-up for at-home training.

“Knock out the training online so that way when we need assistance you can jump in, you’re already trained and we can put you to work right away,” he said. “I know a lot of people - when a disaster happens - they want to jump in, ‘what can I do?’ Well, if you get trained in advance we can give you a job to do today.”

There are about 30 red cross staff and volunteers from eastern North Carolina on the ground in Louisiana right now.

You can find out more about volunteering with the American Red Cross here.

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