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Impact from hurricane is being felt all the way to CSRA

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 5:59 AM EDT
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Streets are flooded, trees have been shredded and homes have been destroyed as people wake up this morning along the Gulf Coast to pick up the pieces left by Hurricane Laura.

They’ll find help and emotional support from the CSRA.

Nearly a million homes from Texas to Arkansas are without power and utilities say it could take weeks before the damage is repaired.

Praying for relatives

In South Carolina, Tricia Blalock says she could do nothing but pray for her family in Louisiana.

Blalock says her sister was home when the hurricane swept through, and she is lucky they made it out OK.

Even though 500,000 people were told to evacuate, some people were worried about the coronavirus and decided staying home would be a safer option.

Among those were Blalock’s relatives.

“Number one is actually COVID. For that reason, they have been quarantined for the last six months. Their safe haven is their house,” Blalock said.

“I think they are fortunate. They did take every precaution” while riding out the storm, Blalock said.

Local Red Cross weighs in

A Red Cross official in the CSRA said a shelter would have been the safest place, though. Measures have been put into place to protect people from coronavirus.

“Everyone will have a temperature check and a health questionnaire that has to be answered before they come into a shelter. That is staff workers, volunteers, clients, everyone,” said Susan Everitt, executive director of the American Red Cross of East-Central Georgia.

“For the Red Cross, it has really been extended training on COVID — how to keep clients, volunteers, staff, everyone safe from COVID.”

Help from firefighters

A team of nearly 60 firefighters from across the Palmetto State has arrived in Louisiana to start searching for survivors of Laura’s category 4 strength.

State Fire Marshal Jonathan Jones says when Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast in 2018, firefighters from Louisiana came here to help. Now he says it’s our time to give back.

The fire marshal says first responders from across the Palmetto State are joining him to help in search-and-rescue missions. Jones said they’re ready for everything from water rescues to searching houses and other buildings.

“We’ve already got teams that are pushing out into those affected areas. ... When you’re talking about 150 mile per hour winds, that alone causes catastrophic damage,” Jones said.

He says the team is prepared to stay in Louisiana for two weeks, but they aren’t sure how long it’ll take.

The power to help

Several South Carolina power crews are also hitting the road to aid in recovery efforts. Fourteen crews from several of the state’s electric cooperatives are already en route to help. Each crew will have four to five employees. All crews from South Carolina will be traveling to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative in Jennings, La.

Georgia Power is also sending help to hurricane-battered Louisiana. At least 100 personnel and crews are heading to Baton Rouge to receive their orders to support power restoration.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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