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Red Cross volunteers head to help storm victims

Red Cross volunteers head to help storm victims (ABC7) 

Hundreds of volunteers have been deployed to Southeast Texas after a direct hit from Hurricane Harvey, and now fears of catastrophic flooding.

On Saturday, volunteers with the American Red Cross National Capital Region spent the day getting Emergency Response Vehicles ready to head south and help with the massive relief effort.

"At this point we've already sheltered almost 2,000 people in shelters down there," said Nell Nutaitis, director of development for the National Capital Region.

Dozens of local Red Cross volunteers have been mobilizing since Harvey threatened to hammer the Gulf Coast. Rebecca Callahan, from Northeast Washington, got the call late Friday night. She packed up and boarded a plane to Houston Saturday afternoon to help manage a shelter.

"No matter how little sleep you get or how much extra work it is, somebody is always better off when you're finished, so that's why you do it," said Callahan, who has been deployed more than a half dozen times to help during a hurricane.

Harvey's howling winds levelled buildings, ripped apart roofs, and it's heavy rains are still drenching the coast. Harvey is responsible for at least one confirmed death.

"We're just now getting our hands around how large this disaster is, and from where I am at I know it’s huge," said Paul Carden, Regional Disaster Officer for the National Capital Region, which is headquartered in Fairfax, VA.

Carden said he has had a team on the ground in Corpus Christi since Tuesday, which helped bring in food and supplies. Carden spoke to ABC7 News by phone Saturday afternoon.

"What we're dealing with in Corpus Christi is pretty much a widespread power outage, which means no businesses are open, no gas stations and no place to get supplies," he said. “We’re waiting for the rivers to begin flooding and that’s going to create a demand for more shelters.”

"This is going to be a long recovery. This storm is going to leave many areas uninhbitable and we will be there with everyone as long as we are needed," Nutaitis said.

The Red Cross is seeking financial donations to help provide disaster relief. You can help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a monetary donation.

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