Red Cross answers disaster's call - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Red Cross answers disaster's call

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March 20, 2003

Mitchell County-- Not long after the first tornado struck South Georgia, Red Cross volunteers in Albany began mobilizing. The first crews were dispatched to Mitchell and Worth Counties before sunrise, and they plan to stay until the last family is served.

Their emergency response vehicle was amoung the first sent to Mitchell County Thursday morning-- carrying food and supplies for crews and victims. "It was early this morning I was notified, sometime around 6:00 AM or a little before," said Jim Johnson of the Red Cross.

Johnson, Disaster Services Director for the Southwest Georgia Branch of the American Red Cross, has been in conferences most of the day with national and state headquarters, divising a response plan.

"The national headquarters and the state headquarters have been notified that we are working there and needing to provide assistance." That assistance, early on, is mass care-- feeding and sheltering victims, replacing essential household items, and even making emergency home repairs.

Johnson says he expects extra help from Atlanta as well as the national headquarters. "They've asked me about the amount of people we need, that is all driven by damage and assistance they will be providing us some people."

Twenty Red Cross volunteers met the inital needs, but more people are expected. "We will help people but they will have additional needs later on, we will help them as long as need is there."

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Mitchell County Middle School. Besides providing food and a place to sleep, nurses are on staff.

posted at 5:55PM by dave.miller@walb.com