People in the Florida Panhandle and the surrounding area continue to pick up the pieces left behind by Hurricane Michael.
Michael made landfall last Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane. It was the strongest storm to hit the continental U.S. in more than a decade.
The widespread damage caused by Hurricane Michael has left entire communities decimated, without power or water. First responders, FEMA, and even organizations from the High Plains are there on the ground as the cleanup effort continues.
As of Tuesday evening, officials said the death toll from Hurricane Michael had risen to at least 29 across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
“It’s like a war zone out here. It’s really, really bad, but everybody’s coming together to help. There’s a lot of red cross. Everybody’s coming out to help,” said Arthur Phillips from Panama Beach, Florida.
The Amarillo-based organization Christian Relief Fund (CRF) is helping as well.
“Well, we’ve already had people call in right away asking how they can help, and they can call into our offices or go online, donate. It’s christianrelieffund.org,” said Wasner. “We have a team that we partner within the U.S. Called the Disaster Response Team and they mobilize immediately.”
Wasner told us those this is the worst domestic natural disaster he has seen in the short time he has been the executive director of CRF.
“Had two trees in the house and my shop’s been compromised,” Michael Rollins of Lynn Haven, Florida said. “I’m adding on a large add-on here and it’s destroyed everything we’ve done in the last six weeks.”
Al Cathey, Mayor of Mexico Beach, Florida added, “It’s very, very, very hard to walk down the street and say that was Jim’s house. that was Frank’s house, that was Sue…After a while it wears on you.”‘
Search and rescue efforts are ongoing and Wasner said there can never be too many volunteers as the areas impacted are still far away from a full recovery.
“We’ll be willing to put those who want to get down there, put boots on the ground, we’ll be glad to put them in touch with the right folks and we’ll be glad to take any kind of donations that people are willing to give…100% of what comes in for that, we’ll send it right down there to the team to put to work.”
CRF, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and more are on the ground helping in the aftermath.
Nexstar Media Group has a section on their station’s websites to donate to the American Red Cross. Click here to access that page.
If you need help determining where to donate, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster has a list of major non-profits, many whom are already coordinating relief and response efforts in the affected areas.
We are also raising awareness and money for the victims of Hurricane Michael through our relief telethon on Oct. 19 on KAMR Local 4 at 6:30 p.m.