Rescue crews and organizations like the Salvation Army are preparing for the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, following its landfall in Southern Florida on Friday.
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Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Director Kevin Smith joined the FOX Business Network to provide an update on their operations as the storm continues up the Florida coastline.
“We are urging people still up on that Northeast part of Florida to really stay tuned to the weather, listen to the meteorologists,” Smith stated. “We’re talking 10 miles—10 miles is the difference between this thing being a catastrophic event along some of the areas it’s already impacted, to being a significant power outage… Our teams are rolling in as we speak into each of the communities along that East Coast.”
The storm surge associated with Matthew, now a Category 3 storm, is causing flooding along the coast in the Sunshine State as well as further north into the Carolinas.
“As the meteorologists have said, they’re looking five to seven even possibly up to 12 feet in certain areas as this water continues to batter the coast. Several of our facilities along that line of inundation, if you will, have already started to see water rise, coming into facilities with storm water drains and stuff like that around.”
Smith said many citizens have already heeded the warning to evacuate and head to safer locations, but hopes anyone still in areas of danger will leave.
“The resilience of communities are the ones that had plans,” Smith said. “Those that knew to go to a friend and loved one that is a safe location. So don’t let the trigger of the number of people in shelters be the trigger of how many people evacuated. And I think that’s a positive.”
He added: “We’re going to be getting in there with the search and rescue teams from the government and the resources that we bring in to identify those that were left behind. But we do see that a lot of people heeded the warning and we encourage those that still have time that are hearing these warnings, to take it very seriously because it’s not over.”
Though Smith says the organization has received a lot of support from the state and Governor Rick Scott’s office, Americans can still contribute to help fund the relief efforts of the organization.
“We have a capacity to feed up to 100,000 meals a day and that’s our planning assumption and that has not changed. Our units will be rolling in and where it’s needed the most we’re going to be on site and people can help us financially—call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or go to our SalvationArmyUSA.org and make a contribution to really help make us an effective response.”