Red Cross Needs Local Donations - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/22/06

Red Cross Needs Local Donations

Generosity throughout the Coastal Empire and Low Country was incredible with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, even the tsunami. Millions of dollars in aid.

Now the Red Cross in the Low Country is working hard to make sure it's ready for the next disaster.

We've all seen the devastation hurricanes can leave behind, and with hurricane season beginning next week, Red Cross officials with the Palmetto chapter are concerned they don't have the equipment necessary if a hurricane hit our area.

"If a disaster were to happen immediately, make no mistake, we'll respond," said executive director Larry Rockwell. "We're going to deliver services, but because we are going to have to find other vehicles, rent trucks, cars, that means that response can't happen as quickly."

That's because they say their fleet is deteriorating and unreliable. Officials say they've already had to take one vehicle off the road because it simply wasn't safe to drive, and they say their other four vehicles aren't much better.

"Not one of them is younger than ten years old, not one of them is air conditioned," said Rockwell.

Rockwell says they don't even have enough cots, blankets, and supplies to set up all the shelters that would be needed in the event of a hurricane. "We have 16 hurricane evacuation shelters in our jurisdiction. We own trailers that can staff three of those 16 shelters."

Rockwell says, while many local people gave generously to help the hurricane victims in the Gulf Coast, none of that money stayed here locally, and now they're asking the community to make an investment in our insurance policy.

They're launching a $2 million campaign soon, and need your donations. For more information, call the Palmetto Chapter of the American Red Cross at 843.757.7437. Visit them online at:

http://www.palmettoredcross.org/

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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