Among those attending the meeting were members of SOCAG, DHS and the Health Department. John Velenzuela, SW Red Cross Chapter Rep. spoke of the measures needed to be taken to assure that evacuees receive the proper survival necessities in emergency situations.
“Teamwork is essential to accomplish our mission,” he said. The local Red Cross Chapter will be receiving assistance from SOCAG, DHS and the Health Department and other local agencies. “We want be ready to provide shelter, clothing, food and health products,” Valenzuela said. Local motels and hotels are also expected to receive maximum bookings in case of an emergency. Volunteers are welcome to assist.
The American Red Cross is moving hundreds of mobile feeding trucks into Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The organization is also moving thousand of cots and blankets, tens of thousands of cots and blankets, tens of thousands of comfort kits and ready-to-eat meals into the coastal states.
Hurricane Gustav is expected to make landfall in the U.S. early this coming week, most likely in Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service. By then, crews from Oklahoma will have been in staging areas for days.
The Oklahoma National Guard also is prepared to help. State Emergency Management spokeswoman Michelann Ooten said officials statewide are preparing to send volunteers. She added that the state’s experience in helping disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina gives officials a good idea of Oklahoma’s capabilities.
Gustav strengthened into a hurricane Friday and appeared to stay on track to hit the Cayman Islands, then western Cuba before moving into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico bound for the U.S. coastline early next week. The storm has left 71 people dead in the Caribbean.
As much as 80 percent of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil and gas production could be shut down as a precaution if Gustav enters as a major storm, weather research firm Planalytics predicted. Oil companies have already evacuated hundreds of workers from offshore platforms.