Relief efforts by The Salvation Army continue in Florida as many counties sustain power outages caused by Hurricane Frances. Frances hit Florida’s Atlantic coast on Sunday, with winds as fast as 115mph, and then turned toward the panhandle.
Although weakened from a Category 4 to a Category 3 storm by the time it hit the panhandle on Monday, Frances still brought high winds, heavy rains, and large amounts of damage to the area. Power outages were common throughout the counties, while localized flooding remained the biggest concern. As of today, a total of 15 fatalities statewide have been confirmed.
While Hurricane Frances continues to weaken (it has been downgraded to Category 1), response teams are stepping up efforts to bring aid to the victims. Throughout the impacted areas, residents wait in long lines for supplies such as gasoline, water, food, and other basic needs. Residents have begun to return home to pick up the pieces and resume their lives again, heeding a message of caution from Lieutenant Governer Toni Jennings and other state officials about the possibility of flooding from nearby rivers.
The Salvation Army will deploy as many as 54 mobile feeding canteens throughout communities to bring much needed supplies to both hurricane victims and fellow relief workers. Mass feeding kitchens are also being established at fixed feeding sites.
Kevin Smith, the disaster services director for The Salvation Army in Florida, stated, “Our first response is to get our units into areas that are without power and provide food and water. Our next step is to identify fixed feeding sites and Comfort Stations so people can get food, supplies and other types of assistance.”
75% of Central Florida and many counties throughout the state were without power as of Tuesday. Mobile feeding units have been deployed to their stations, servicing a total of 16 state Regional Incident Command Centers. Mass feeding kitchens, like the 53 foot kitchen capable of cooking 5,000 meals per day, are being stationed at several centers to supply nearby mobile feeding canteens.
With Hurricane Ivan just beyond the horizon and threatening to strike the state with what would be the third storm in two months, workers from The Salvation Army focus on the work at hand, making sure that for now, the victims of Hurricane Frances are getting the support they need.
If you would like to contribute to the relief efforts in Florida, financial donations can be sent to The Salvation Army “Disaster Relief:, P.O. Box 270848, Tampa, FL 33688 or online at www.salvationarmyflorida.org or by calling 1-800 SAL-ARMY. Those who are interested in volunteering may contact their local Salvation Army or call 1-800-996-ARMY for more information