New Mexicans helping out with Irma relief efforts

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As we continue to monitor what’s left of Irma, residents in its path will likely be back to work, picking up the pieces. As they do that, more New Mexicans are pitching in to help.

Albuquerque Red Cross officials say while they’re still assessing the damage from Irma, 34 volunteers from the Arizona, New Mexico, El Paso Red Cross region, including five from New Mexico, are already on their way to Florida.

More volunteers are also expected to leave Tuesday.

So far, an estimated 208,000 people have sought refuge at more than 600 government and Red Cross evacuation centers. Those centers stretch from the Virgin Islands up to the Carolinas.

Dozens of volunteers from our region will be helping out for days and even weeks.

“That requires a lot of man power and we have people serving meals, setting up shelters, setting up cots and beds, and just helping people with the beginning processes of their recovery,” said Douglas Keaty, PIO.

There are still nearly 100 volunteers just from our region alone, including 19 from New Mexico, aiding in the Harvey disaster relief efforts.

Officials say it’s been a juggling act to handle both Harvey and now Irma, but they were prepared after states requested assistance well ahead of time.

“We find out what the state emergency management wants and that’s where we end up going. Of course, we always know people need shelter and especially when mandatory evacuations go into effect. We already are prepared with our partner organizations to set up many, many shelters to take care of the needs of people,” said Keaty.

If you want to get involved locally, officials suggest signing up to volunteer at nonprofits such as Red Cross, so that you too can get training to help with future events.

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