(Editor’s Note: The United Way Disaster Response & Recovery Fund is raising money to assist communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. Your support will help local United Ways meet immediate storm-related needs and support long-term recovery throughout the affected regions. To make a donation, click here.)
Local organizations are preparing to assist areas devastated by Hurricane Ian even as the storm continues to make its way through the Carolinas.
Earlier this week, Ian’s high winds, storm surge, heavy rain, and flooding left a swath of destruction across Florida. At least 21 people were reported dead as of Friday, and 1.9 million were without power.
Early response teams from Mennonite Disaster Service will hit the ground in Florida by Saturday, Oct. 10, the organization said in a statement.
The organization is building a waitlist of volunteers willing to assist with relief efforts and is collecting donations to support its response efforts, which it says will continue for months and perhaps even years.
MDS Florida is assessing the situation and volunteer need. When it is safe to deploy, the early response teams will be focused on removing trees, clearing debris, and mucking out homes, MDS said.
It said emergency management officials are urging volunteers not to self-deploy until downed live power lines and damaged trees can be removed.
Meanwhile, the Greater Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross is directing individuals wanting to donate to the hurricane relief effort to the Red Cross’ donation page.
The Red Cross says there is an urgent need for blood donations in order to prevent disruption to patient care. Click here to find Red Cross blood donation dates and locations.