American Red Cross assists victims of deadly storm virtually

Local News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- The coronavirus crisis is not slowing down the response or aid to the deadly storms on Monday, but the coronavirus is changing the way state agencies and organizations help those in need.

9 people were killed and dozens were injured after several tornados ripped through South Carolina. Homes were flattened and hundreds of thousands lost power.

The American Red Cross is assisting residents with shelter and food in response to the damage caused by the storm. Before the coronavirus crisis the organization would open shelters, but with COVID-19 the Red Cross is now using the help of hotels.

“We are having folks go to those hotels to stay and that way they can have their own room they can continue to social distancing so that’s obviously a little bit different for us,” explained Benjamin Williamson with the American Red Cross

Damage assessment has also changed. Instead of a team, an individual will asses the damage from their car and talk to impacted families via Facetime and Skype.

Williamson continued, “The mission is still the same, what we are providing these people is still the same but how we’re delivering has changed.”

South Carolina Emergency Management is in the process of surveying the damage and assessing the needs of residents.

It will still be a few days before those estimates come in.

At least 200 people have needed to seek shelter in one of hotels partnering with the Red Cross after the deadly storms on Monday.

The American Red Cross says the cancellation of blood drives across the state has also had an impact on the organization’s blood supply.

The Red Cross is encouraging people to still donate blood so the organization can offer medical help in the wake of a natural disaster like the storm this week.

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