Volunteers prepare emergency shelter for tornado victims - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Volunteers prepare emergency shelter for tornado victims

March 2, 2007

Americus --It has been a challenge to set up an emergency shelter to house and feed hundreds of tornado victims  in Americus. Even though the American Red Cross was a storm victim itself, South Georgians have pulled together to get ready to help Sumter County's tornado victims. 

"My home was flattened." As storm victims started to trickle in, the American Red Cross was busy getting their emergency shelter ready to host them. But it hasn't been easy. The Americus Red Cross chapter office was destroyed by the storm, and most of their emergency equipment is gone.

American Red Cross Volunteer Ginger Perkins said "we lost two disaster trailers. We don't know where they are. They got picked up by the tornado and thrown somewhere. We have not found them anywhere."

The primary emergency shelter is the First Baptist Church in Americus, but it is still without power and people can not drink the tap water. So generators are running to power emergency lights. People unloading drinks from pickup trucks to quench victims' thirst.

Tyson Foods brought a tractor trailer load of food, and spent the afternoon grilling hundreds of chickens to feed everyone. Cots are set up and ready. Clean clothes and showers are ready.

Only 15 people were in the shelter Thursday night, but the Red Cross thinks many people huddled in their smashed homes, and then cleaned up Friday. They expect hundreds to be in need of shelter Friday night. 

Perkins said "we've got accommodation to hold up to about 300 people. And we've got other churches down the street ready that are willing to open and host if we need more."

 With the hospital damaged by the storm, Doctors and nurses have set up an emergency room inside the shelter, to give medical help to the victims. Dr. Rick Oster said "chest pains, lacerations, some psychiatric patients who were either misplaced last night or out of their medications."

Drug companies and Doctors have donated prescription drugs for the storm victims that have lost everything. But for many, a hot meal, a cold drink, and a smile are the best medicine now. 

 South Georgia volunteers spent the day making sure tornado victims spend a calm night tonight, after yesterdays horrors.

If you want to help, they can use water at the First Baptist Church in Americus. But you can give a monetary donation to the American Red Cross office where you are, and they will make sure the help gets to tornado victims in Sumter County.  

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