American red cross dispatches help for Irene victims

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - While we were not directly affected here in the River Region, many across the state are heading to the east coast to assist with the massive power outages and disaster relief. Fifty utility workers from Dixie Electric Cooperative were dispatched, 12 of them from Montgomery. And nearly 1,000 American Red Cross workers are gearing up for this large relief operation for Irene.

Irene forced about 30,000 people to spend Saturday night in American Red Cross shelters along the east coast.

"We should care because they're just as much our neighbor as we were theirs when we had our tornadoes," American Red Cross of Central Alabama Chief Executive Officer Jackie Buck said.

And the impact is being felt here in Montgomery, as American red cross of central Alabama is now a part of the large relief operation.

"Two people already gone. One is in North Carolina, one is in New England at the Massachusetts headquarters and four more are on stand-by, we don't know where they will go," American Red Cross District Emergency Services officer Beverly Brown said.

Buck and Brown are coming in early to get things in order.

"We're getting their debit cards loaded, their staff cards loaded, ready to go," Buck said.

"As many as we can get. We would send 50 if we had 50 volunteers," Brown said.

Nationwide, 915 American red cross workers are dispersed throughout the path of the storm with 250 emergency response vehicles.

"They feed not only the victims of the disaster but the workers, the police, the fire departments, anybody and everybody who's there on the site," Brown said.

Irene has already canceled more than fifty blood drives across the east coast, translating into 4,500 blood products not being available for the patients who need them.

American Red Cross staff hoping those in the River Region will donate blood and make a donation to help Irene storm victims.