Red Cross Disaster Assessment team reads the signs for hurricane damage

In North Carolina, Red Cross Disaster Assessment (DA) teams survey urban and rural areas daily, house by house, to assess the damage to residences resulting from Hurricane Florence.  

DA_Elizabeth Boria and Jim Bray_Calabash_ES_01Oct18-3968

The water level reached by flooding is clearly visible on this residence surveyed by Red Cross Disaster Assessment team members Elizabeth Boria and Jim Bray in Calabash, N.C.

On Oct. 1, 2018, DA volunteers Elizabeth Boria and Jim Bray drove the streets of Calabash and Shallotte, where they were able to observe the damage to the residences caused by the hurricane. The data they collected will help identify affected families and their particular needs, in order to provide them with assistance.  

“In several areas we have visited, the main problem was floods,” said Elizabeth Boria as she drove through Calabash’s alleys of tall pine trees. “Many people who found refuge in shelters are unable to return to their homes due to the damage and to mold.”  

Off Hickman Road, the waterline was clearly visible, up to four feet, on several of the wooden houses. The once beautiful green waters of the pond had turned to dark brown, almost black, letting out a strong rotten smell.   

DA_Pond_Off Hickman Rd_Calabash_ES_01Oct18-3960

A pond in a residential area in Calabash, N.C., contaminated by the floods caused by hurricane Florence. The dark waters let out a strong rotten smell.

Further north, on the way to Shallotte, armies of mosquitoes charged on the Red Cross vehicle windows, as retired engineer Jim Bray studied the handful of maps on his lap. He skillfully led his DA teammate Elizabeth through the county’s network of streets, one by one, to ensure no affected household would be left out. 

The surroundings were peaceful, yet trees and houses told their tale of the hurricane: broken branches, fallen trees, piles of vegetable debris on the side of the road and blue and gray tarps on the roofs were testimonies of the damage caused by Florence’s strong winds.  

When a residence is affected, the DA team members enter the details of the damage on their mobile cell phone, via an electronic application developed by the Red Cross.   

“This survey allows us to know exactly where the damages occurred, the type of damage, and how many families were impacted,” Jim explained. “Last Wednesday, for example, we came across 120 houses affected by wind damage in Pender, the next day, we found 75.”  

The Disaster Assessment team will continue to cover the affected areas looking for damage until every street on the map has been completely examined.    

You can help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation 

Photos and Story by Elena Sartorius/American Red Cross 

DA_Elizabeth Boria_Calabash_ES_01Oct18-3954

Elizabeth Boria, from Red Cross Disaster Assessment team, surveys a family residence impacted by floods in Calabash, N.C.

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