Five people in the United States and 28 worldwide have been
killed by hurricane Dennis.
Dennis was downgraded to a tropical storm, but not before
slamming into parts of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi with 120-mile-an-hour
winds that ripped roofs off of houses and downed power lines. Half a million
homes were left without power, and damage is estimated in the billions. Parts
of all three states have been declared disaster areas.
In the wake of the storm, truckers can play an important
role in the relief effort by providing donated time, labor and, of course,
transportation for supplies and rebuilding in crisis areas, said Patricia Kraemer,
and emergency services director for the Mississippi Gulf Coast chapter of the
American Red Cross.
“We always need trucks to pick up supplies and take them to
shelters and such,” Kraemer said. “We are always in need of transportation of
supplies and free labor.”
Kraemer said it is important to contact the Red Cross as
soon as you decide to become involved with the relief effort.
“People contact us to volunteer,” Kraemer. “We go from
there, letting them know what our needs are, what their availability is and
what they have to offer that could assist us.”
Although truckers’ help is always appreciated, Devorah
Goldburg, spokesperson for the American Red Cross, said some chapters of the
organization might feel that an overwhelming volunteer response from truckers
could complicate the logistical problems in a disaster area.
Goldburg said truckers who want to become involved with the
relief effort should contact the American Red Cross headquarters or get in
touch with a Red Cross chapter in the disaster area. If load-hauling assistance
is not needed or wanted, she recommended donating blood, money or taking part
in one of the Red Cross’s other disaster volunteer programs.
For more information on volunteering with the American Red
Cross or any of its local chapters located in areas of tropical storm activity,
– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer