BATON ROUGE. LOUISIANA (KERO) — There is much destruction right now with the wildfires here in California and the storms in the south. But, with this people are stepping up to help during these trying times.
“I was just at the airport with people from all over the United States, Arizona, Michigan, Colorado, Oklahoma. And so, it's really heartwarming to see people coming from across the country to help with one specific area,” said Nicole Maul, spokesperson for Red Cross.
Maul touched down in Louisiana on Saturday before Ida made landfall as a category 4 hurricane the following day.
“Here in Baton Rouge, I'm seeing downed trees. I am seeing downed power lines. A significant amount of power outages. Which is really requiring the community to really be resilient. It's been absolutely heart-wrenching to see the devastation,” said Maul.
Maul traveled from the central coast of California with a handful of other volunteers responding to thousands of residents who now seek shelter and food in a time of need.
“To fly across the country may seem crazy to others, but gosh it is one of the most meaningful moments of my life to be able to help others,” said Maul.
Maul is doing this alongside 350 other Red Cross workers throughout the area within 60 community shelters, all experiencing different challenges depending on the location.
“As roads start to open as debris is starting to be cleared, what we're focused on now is getting relief supplies to people who need it most. But, also helping to shelter more than 2,500 people in several states,” said Maul.
The massive storm surge brought up to 150 miles per hour destructive winds to parts of Louisiana on Sunday followed by heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and tornado threats.
This is why Maul believes there's still a lot of work to do on the ground.
“We know there's a really good chance for people who are still going to need our assistance in the days, weeks, and even months to come as we really start to see the impact from Ida,” said Maul.
On the other side of the country, some volunteers are staying back in California due to the ongoing wildfires.
“Whether it's the Caldore Fire or any other fires in the state. Right? We just saw the impacts of the French Fire. And so, what we're really seeing is that disaster is continuing, and relief becomes more important than ever,” said Maul.
Red Cross officials are stretched thin right now due to all the destruction happening around the country and they are looking for more volunteers.