RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Organizations across North Carolina are putting boots on the ground in Florida to help with recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian.
More than a dozen people from the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management went to Florida Wednesday to provide more aid to the communities in need.
“They’re driving down with a trailer full of equipment and supplies and gear and they are going to be in the Fort Myers area and Lee County, Florida helping out there for two weeks,” said Keith Acree with North Carolina Emergency Management.
Hurricane Ian caused a lot of devastation to the coastal community damaging homes, buildings and bridges.
“It’s hard to comprehend,” Acree added. “It’s devastating just to see communities just kind of leveled like some of them are and just knowing, having been through some of that here North Carolina with Florence and Matthew.”
Acree said most state emergency management divisions are only a small group so additional resources from other staff will help.
“They are trying to manage points of distribution or relief supplies, complete a search effort, operate shelters, all those things that go on in a post hurricane environment and just start the long, long recovery process that’s gonna go on for months if not years,” said Acree.
Another group taking part in helping neighbors in Fort Myers is Samaritan’s Purse.
“We’ve had 100 volunteers over the weekend—even yesterday and today—showing up to go out to take the rakes, to take the chain saws, to take the harping materials and begin helping people in their cleanup,” said Chandler Saylors, Program Manager for Samaritan’s Purse.
The organization, which is based in Boone, N.C., has been in Fort Myers since Friday.
“When we first arrived it was hard to get through the streets and navigate because of flooding. 24 hours after the storm there’s still tons of street flooding. You could see people basically standing in their yard on an island not able to even get out and even check on their neighbors,” said Saylors. “You have homes that look like they’ve been in a war zone in the middle of the street, entire roofs missing, trees down on the houses.”
Saylors said the group has been doing everything they can to help and the will continue to serve.
“We’ve had a lot of just incredible interactions with folks. It’s amazing how you can show up in their yard and be there to help and serve and really leave and they don’t have an entirely new house when you go but they have a smile on their face because they know they’re not alone in the storm and in the recovery and that’s really the heart of why we come,” said Saylors.
The group said so far they’ve started work on about 20 homes and that number continues to grow.
They’re hoping to do more as they get more volunteers.
Find out more at https://www.samaritanspurse.org/.