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Michiana volunteers and employees hit the road to assist in natural disaster recovery efforts

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 5:29 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -The American Red Cross and crews from I&M Power are responding to those in the wake of numerous natural disasters across the United States.

16 New Now tells us how these volunteers and employees from Michiana are helping with recovery efforts.

Six Red Cross volunteers from Indiana are on their way to the Gulf States to help with shelter and mass care for those impacted by Hurricane Laura.

Tragic images of the strong winds that hit coastal areas of Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana.

16 News Now spoke with Northern Indiana’s Red Cross Director, who says their volunteers will focus on sheltering people who’ve lost their homes and making sure they’re taken care of once they arrive.

There are also volunteers assisting out west where wildfires displaced more than one hundred thousand people, and at storm aftermath in Iowa.

“The impact won’t be visible until later today or tomorrow when areas start becoming a little more accessible. Right now we have shelter team workers and folks in what we care heading in that direction. They would be folks that shelter and feed the individuals that are displaced by the storm,” said Red Cross Northern Indiana Director Kristin Marlow.

When two tornadoes rip through parts of Elkhart and Kosciusko counties, utility crews from the Southwestern Electric Power Company helped restore power to these communities.

Now Indiana and Michigan power is returning the favor in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

Their crews hit the road early Thursday morning.

“Indiana Michigan Power is going to send more than 200 of our employees and contractors to the gulf states to help with the restoration of power there. Its a form of mutual assistance,” said I&M Power Spokesman Tracy Warner.

The crews will head to Arkansas and Mississippi Thursday night.

Friday they’ll be given more specific directions of where to help.

“We have people who focus on power and restoring lines. There are also forestry people who help remove trees and get them out of the way so the line people can do their work,” Warner said.

They’ll join others from Michiana, including the Red Cross who are answering the call to assist in recovery efforts.

“We’re always in the need for volunteers. If folks are looking at their television and listening to the radio and watching the news on this disaster and are wondering what they can do, they can go to redcross.org and sign up to be a volunteer and get their training started to go out and be able to respond to not only national disasters but disasters that hit here in Northern and Northwest Indiana all the time,” Marlow said.

I&M says their crews could be assisting the recover for a couple weeks.

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