First wave of Dorian evacuees comes to Augusta

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Monday, September 2, 2019
News 12 at 11 o'clock

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- The first wave of Hurricane Dorian evacuees arrived at Westside High School in Augusta around 6 o'clock Monday evening.

Our relief effort for Hurricane Dorian is well underway now," said Jay Lawrence of the American Red Cross. "We've had six buses come in. There has been a few score of people who've come in. We're expecting more."

Thousands more.

Augusta Fire Chief Chris James estimates about 3,000 evacuees coming to Augusta from all over Georgia. The ones who arrived today were from Chatham County. They came in wheelchairs and walkers, some needing special care.

"The folks here have special medical needs, and so they do need special attention," said Lawrence. "We have our own nurses. We have our own specialists who can help them."

The Red Cross has about 20 volunteers at Westside High School. In total, they'll have about 125 across the area. Executive Director Susan Everitt said they could always use more help.

"It takes a real community to do this," she said.

Augusta has seen this before. Chief James said a few years ago, Augusta faced a similar situation. They were not prepared.

"The evacuees were coming in at the same time that we were trying to set up the shelters," he said.

But he said they learned from that, and this time, they're ready.
"We're pleased that we've had the resources at this point to have some shelters ready and prepared," he said.

Chief James said we'll be taking in evacuees for the next few days, and will make decisions on opening more shelters when the time comes.

The Red Cross also wants you to know about their free hurricane app. It tells you how to prepare before, during and after a story. It also has a map so you can track the storm's path and see open shelters in the area.

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