The Salvation Army across the south-west of the USA is closely monitoring weather conditions as Hurricane Florence continues its path in the Atlantic Ocean.
Most recent reports indicate that the hurricane may make landfall at near Category 5 strength along the North Carolina coast. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for coastal areas of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
'Together with our emergency response team in the Carolinas and our national disaster teams, we are closely monitoring the storm,' says Major Chris Flanagan, from The Salvation Army's National Capital and Virginia Division. 'We are ready to respond locally in coastal areas and beyond, where heavy rainfall and potential flooding may impact wide areas in Virginia. We pray that the impact will be light, but we are ready to provide relief to those affected by the storm and support our emergency management partners.'
The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to support those affected by Hurricane Florence, with trained disaster staff and volunteers and specialised equipment deploying to several locations. As the threat to Florida’s coast has lessened, The Salvation Army will deploy mobile feeding units, staff and volunteers from across Florida to assist areas where the storm is expected to make landfall in North and South Carolina. A 53-foot refrigerated feeding support trailer will also travel from Florida to North Carolina to assist with transporting food and drinks to affected areas.
A 10-person Incident Management Team from The Salvation Army in Texas was deployed on Tuesday, bringing recent and valuable experience of large-scale disaster response following Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
As in past disasters, The Salvation Army coordinates with community agencies and emergency management officials to provide food, hydration, clean-up kits, hygiene supplies, and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and survivors. The Salvation Army’s National Capital and Virginia Division has up to 10 mobile feeding units ready for disaster response throughout Virginia.
'We have alerted all Salvation Army locations to closely monitor the storm and to be ready for localised response in their service area,' says Mike Patterson, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army in North and South Carolina, where 15 mobile feeding units are on standby. 'At this point we are watching, waiting and preparing for service. We pray that our preparations will not be necessary, but we are ready when called by our emergency management partners.'