Red Cross limits volunteers to Texas as focus shifts to Hurricane Irma

(WNCN/WCBD) — Local Red Cross officials are preparing for what Hurricane Irma could bring to the Carolinas even though many of its resources are still in Texas for Hurricane Harvey.

The local North Carolina Red Cross sent 106 volunteers to Texas to assist in the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. That is about 12 percent of the total local Red Cross’ volunteers.

Many of those volunteers are still in Texas. Red Cross officials say the need for assistance in Texas is still high, but the focus and resources.

Red Cross officials say the need for assistance in Texas is still high, but the focus and resources needs might shift toward North and South Carolina based on what Hurricane Irma may bring our coast.

“We put a hold on sending volunteers from the mid-Atlantic states,” said Red Cross Regional Executive Officer Barry Porter. “There is still a lot of other states to send volunteers from, but because of this pending threat to Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina we’ve asked those volunteers to hold, update their records, and help us here in the Carolina’s if we need them,” he added.

Porter says the Red Cross has not faced the threat of multiple hurricanes hitting the United States since 2004.

He says with volunteers and resources spread across the country by 1000 miles, prepping for what Hurricane Irma may bring, becomes more difficult.

“With this East Coast threat of Irma coming late this week we’re really concerned,” said Porter.

In Fuquay-Varina a warehouse sits stocked with Red Cross emergency supplies waiting to be deployed.

It’s Alan McKinney’s job to help get these supplies where they need to go.

McKinney says a lot of the local Red Cross’s supplies, like manpower and vehicles, were deployed to Texas.

But he says handling emergency situations is what the Red Cross does every day, not just during hurricane season.

“Monday we start the planning effort for if we get hit. We will be ready,” McKinney said.

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