About a week after Hurricane Matthew slammed the Carolinas, Georgia and the northeast coast of Florida, the American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region has sent another 25 people to participate in relief efforts. The volunteers include five residents from York and Lancaster counties, who will join 10 others sent last week.

“It’s just a lot of heartbreak and a lot of water,” Lancaster County resident Lisa Lowrie said.

Reached by phone at a shelter in Greenville, North Carolina, she said workers there are just getting started. When deployed in the past by the Red Cross, she said, she’s arrived long after the initial disaster.

This time it’s different.

An estimated 2.5 million people have been affected by the storm in the United States, and 36 are confirmed dead, with 20 of those deaths in North Carolina, according to The Associated Press. First responders continue to rescue people trapped in their homes. Ongoing flooding and the threat of cresting rivers continue to pose a threat.

“For the most part there’s so much water damage,” Lowrie said. “What we’re hearing is that people were waiting, thinking the water was going to go down, but it was rising so quickly that many of them had to get out.”

On the drive from the airport in Raleigh, North Carolina, York Township resident Jane Matthews hit multiple detours, as roads were blocked with standing water. Her team passed submerged cars and homes with water up to their first-story windows.

“Every body of water that we saw when flying into Raleigh — which was not one of the badly affected areas — looked like a mud pit. Big, small, whatever, it looked like big bodies of mud instead of water,” Matthews said.

Matthews was deployed Tuesday to Goldsboro, North Carolina, but that headquarters flooded shortly before she arrived. For now, she’ll help to train staff and volunteers from a hotel conference room.

Red Cross York executive director Dan Tobin said more deployments are expected as waters recede and roads become more accessible.

According to a release, the American Red Cross has already sent more than 3,000 staff and volunteers to the affected areas. As of Tuesday evening, the organization had provided 74,000 overnight shelter stays, distributed roughly 140,000 meals and snacks and mobilized more than 100 trailers filled with emergency relief and cleanup supplies.

Read or Share this story: