LI volunteers from American Red Cross head to Louisiana to help assess damage
Long Island volunteers from the American Red Cross are headed down to Louisiana to help assess damages from Hurricane Ida.
Hurricane Ida left New Orleans in shambles with winds destroying homes and businesses, knocking out power and severe flooding that people had to climb to their roofs and attics while they wait for help.
"A lot of these people lost everything. I mean, literally lost everything. They don't have a home, they don't know where their next meal is coming from," says Bruce Vesloski, whose been a volunteer with the American Red Cross for 16 years.
Vesloski and other volunteers will try and make it just a little easier for hurricane victims by distributing food and water supplies. He, along with many other Long Islanders, are currently making their way to Louisiana to help out.
Vesloski says volunteers from the Red Cross all have different duties and they all vary, from helping out with sheltering, damage assessment, and distribution of health supplies.
John Mills with FEMA in Louisiana says their focus prior to the storm was on supporting state and local requests.
"FEMA pre-positioned supplies in advance of the storm, so when we receive request from the state or the American Red Cross we can move very quickly to keep supplies in those shelters," Mills explains.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden made a plea Monday to the thousands left devastated by the storm.
"We need people to continue to shelter in place if it's safe for them to do so," Biden said.
Joseph Downey, of West Islip, is leading the FDNY rescue team and is on his way down south to help out as well. He says more than one third of the 83 police officers, firefighters, and other rescuers are heading down to New Orleans.
"All the members of the team, men and women, are very trained and skilled in their positions, so we're confident we have a good team," Downey says.
He says he expects the mission to last 10 to 14 days.
Louisiana Gov. John Edwards now says they have rescue teams from 16 states and are expecting 5,000 more people to come and help with the search and rescue efforts.