Maine and Aroostook County Red Cross responding to Hurricane Dorian
CARIBOU, Maine — Twelve Red Cross volunteers from Maine are headed out to Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia in response to Hurricane Dorian, which recently devastated the Bahamas and now poses a threat to the Eastern United States.
Ann Kim, director of External Communications for the Red Cross in Maine, said that out of the dozen volunteers, eight are heading to Florida, two are going to Georgia, one is headed to South Carolina and the other is headed to North Carolina. Kim said volunteers will provide victims with assistance in shelter and government operations, along with disaster mental health and reunification.
Throughout the country, Kim said “more than 1,900 trained Red Cross responders” are helping Americans affected by the storm. So far, 110 emergency response vehicles, 104 tractor trailer loads full of relief supplies, and 63,000 ready-to-eat meals have been deployed to help those about to be affected by the storm.
Kim said more than 12,200 stayed in 171 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina on Monday. As of Sept. 3, Kim said “Red Cross and community organizations have provided nearly 15,000 cumulative overnight stays for Hurricane Dorian.”
Looking ahead, the Red Cross estimates that 60,000 people may need help.
So far, Florence “Bunny” Bonney of Orient is the only volunteer from Aroostook County deployed, however Aroostook County Red Cross Community Manager Mary Green said that more from the northern Maine area may be deployed in the coming weeks.
“The Emergency Response Vehicle from Aroostook County is ready to deploy if necessary,” Green said on Sept. 4. “Because the hurricane is moving and shifting every day, we’re at the ready to send more people if needed.”
Green said that Bonney will specialize in providing disaster mental health services, adding that these services are among the first provided by the Red Cross aside from shelter and food.
“The Red Cross is always looking for more volunteers in the disaster mental health field,” Green said, adding that anyone interested in volunteering can visit redcross.org and learn more about how to help.
Green has deployed multiple times herself, and was deployed to North Carolina to help the victims of Hurricane Florence in 2018.
“I’ve personally seen the devastation that a hurricane can leave in its wake,” Green said, “and my heart, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.”
In the Bahamas, Green said more than 13,000 homes have either been destroyed or damaged by the hurricane, and that the U.S. Red Cross is focusing on preparing to assist states that could be affected.
“If people are interested in giving blood, making a monetary donation, or becoming a volunteer,” she said, “we’re always looking for help, even before a disaster hits.”
Anyone interested in helping can call 1-800-REDCROSS, visiting Green’s Red Cross office on 7 Washburn St. in Caribou or calling at (207) 498-5050.
People can also text 90999 to make a $10 donation or download the organization’s blood donor app, which Green said allows individuals to answer questionnaires before making an appointment to donate blood, streamlining the entire process.
“There are all kinds of ways people can help,” she said, “even right here in Aroostook County.”