Organizations balance Harvey aid, Irma preparations

Posted September 5

— As Texas and Louisiana residents continue to clean up the mess left behind by Hurricane Harvey, organizations are keeping a watchful eye and preparing to respond to Hurricane Irma.

Rescue teams are looking at their resources in Texas and making some decisions based on the predicted impact Hurricane Irma will have on the United States while some humanitarian organizations say they’re prepared to continue work in Houston and mobilize for Irma if necessary.

Brook Kreitzburg with Samaritan’s Purse said the organization listens for certain numbers before they prepare to jump into action.

“Once they reach a [Category] 4 or 5, we begin to prepare. We begin to contact individuals to deploy to the disaster, we begin to look at our warehouse to see what is available,” she said.

Hurricane Irma had already reached Category 5 status by Tuesday and although meteorologists do not know what the storm will do in the coming days, Samaritan’s Purse said they could have hundreds of volunteers on location very quickly.

“We can respond in a timely fashion, usually within 24 hours of a disaster happening,” Kreitzburg said.

Roughly 1,200 volunteers were in Texas throughout the week and Kreitzburg said they’ll work in Houston for as long as they’re needed and pull from their bank of national volunteers for Irma if necessary.

“We have a network of people around the country through the local churches when disasters happen where we can pull volunteers from,” Kreitzburg said.

Fayetteville’s Fire and Emergency Management department said 16 water rescue members will be returning to North Carolina this week, due in part to the watchful eye on Irma.

“The decision was made by the authorities overseeing the recovery operations to release the team based upon the increasing threat of Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm Jose in the Atlantic Ocean,” a statement from the department said.

A spokesman for the local chapter of the American Red Cross said they sent a crew of 106 to Texas and they have been in touch with crew leaders to make plans to return them to North Carolina, though they said they would not remove all 106 people from Houston at once.


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