HOUSTON (NEWS10) – The volunteers themselves are having a difficult time getting to some of the hardest hit areas.
One had to be transported by helicopter to his assigned location.
The threat from Harvey is still far from over. Some of the local volunteers that flew out even before the hurricane made landfall are still being diverted to surrounding airports unable to get in and get to work.
“Another volunteer from the Utica area I spoke to yesterday had made it to Houston on Friday. Yesterday he was trapped in his hotel because of flood waters,” Kimmy Venter, Director of Communications at the American Red Cross, said. “So they ended up taking a helicopter out of there to the shelter where he’s going to be working.”
Venter says these volunteers have each committed to at least two weeks of service.
They’ll be working around the clock getting evacuees into shelters, handing out meals and providing emotional support.
“A lot of people may not know the status of their homes if they evacuated before the storm and haven’t been able to get back, so providing that emotional support is a big part of what our volunteers do,” Venter said.
Jack Guzewich, a volunteer from Albany, flew into Austin on Sunday. He’s operating as a government operations liaison.
“We’re not the ones pulling people out of the water so to speak, we’re the ones trying to shelter all of these people,” Guzewich said. “We’re told 10,000 people may show up in this area today on buses from Houston so those are the kind of challenges we have.”
Because the scope of this is so incredible, both Guzewich and Venter say they are going to be in need of help for the foreseeable future.
On Tuesday, the Red Cross will hold a speed training from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at its Everett Road location for those who are ready and willing to deploy.
Venter says another way you can help is by donating financially.
“In my mind, I’m comparing it to the flooding last year in LA because I was deployed to that response,” Venter said. “I saw some of that first hand but from what I’m hearing so far this is a completely different scale.”