The Salvation Army has immediately responded to the affected areas of Hurricane Frances, sending out teams on Monday (Labor Day) to assess the needs of the victims.
Seventy mobile feeding units from Florida, including those deployed by The Salvation Army of Georgia and North and South Carolina, will be in the Central Florida area on Labor Day to begin relief operations.
As of Monday, Hurricane Frances cut off electricity for over 6 million Floridian residents and has killed two people. The Hurricane Frances storm has flooded many regions with up to 10 inches of rain.
Salvation Army relief teams will be on stand-by from Pensacola to Tallahassee as Hurricane Frances advances to the state’s northern region.
“With our network of locations throughout the state, we will be able to stage our equipment and respond from anywhere in the effected area,” stated Kevin Smith, disaster services director for The Salvation Army in Florida.
To better manage and provide disaster relief services, The Salvation Army has centralized its disaster relief operations to Regional Incident Commands, which oversee counties or groups of counties. The Command centers have allowed The Salvation Army to respond quickly to devastated areas, supplying basic needs and personnel for assistance.
“Because of the enormity of the storms path, we have taken this approach of regional commands in order to maximize our ability to get supplies and personal into the area much quicker,” said Smith. “While we are coordinating an overall response, we need to be flexible and approach the relief effort from multiple fronts.”
Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) activated its 1400Z NET on 14.265 MHz on Saturday in order to assist areas impacted by Hurricane Frances, according to the organization.
The Salvation Army is also preparing to respond to the hurricane’s imminent impact in the Panhandle.
Captain David Worthy, commanding officer for The Salvation Army in Panama City reported, “While many have been concentrating on Frances’ movement across the state, we have been preparing to respond to a potential impact along the Gulf coast on Monday.”
Smith added, “It will be like dealing with a second storm within a storm with a totally different dynamic depending on how much strength it regains once it enters the warm Gulf waters.”
The National Hurricane Center deputy director Ed Rappaport has reported forecasts of hurricane coming back to a Category 1 hurricane as it passes the Gulf of Mexico moving toward the Panhandle.
Three weeks earlier, Floridians suffered blows from Category 4 Hurricane Charley. The Salvation Army is still passing out food kits to Charley’s victims and assessing their long-term needs.
Meanwhile, a third hurricane, Hurricane Ivan, a Category 3 storm, reported at 485 miles east-southeast of Barbados could hit Florida in another four days. As of 8 a.m. Monday, CNN.com reported, Ivan's winds were near 125 mph and the storm was moving west at about 23 mph. Ivan's center is near latitude 11.1 north and longitude 52.6 west.
Governor Jeb Bush told reporters on Sunday it was too soon to assess the damage to Florida so far.
As a national first responder in times of disaster, The Salvation Army provides emergency food service to disaster victims and relief workers, distributes supplies, provides emotional and spiritual care support and provides direct financial aid to disaster victims.
Financial donations are still needed and can be sent to The Salvation Army. “Disaster Relief”, P.O. Box 270848, Tampa, FL 33688 or online or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.