American Red Cross volunteers prepare for storm victims - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

American Red Cross volunteers prepare for storm victims

COLUMBUS, GA -

As thousands brace for Hurricane Isaac here in Columbus, volunteers are preparing in case storm victims have to evacuate to the valley.

Wednesday will mark the seven-year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans and parts of the Gulf Coast.

Now, Hurricane Isaac is heading in the same direction.

"A lot of these people, I am quite sure down around New Orleans, are having a flashback to Hurricane Katrina and after Katrina, we had 3,000 evacuees here," said Mitzi Oxford with the American Red Cross, West Central Georgia Chapter.

Oxford says a shelter will open Tuesday night at 8 p.m. in Troup County.

She says volunteers in Columbus have been preparing since last week in case there are thousands of evacuees in the valley again, but this time after Isaac.

"With not knowing how bad the flooding is going to be, how well the levies are going to hold up, we don't know what is going to unfold over the next 24-36 hours, but the bottom line is whatever happens, Red Cross is going to be ready," said Oxford.

Five disaster trailers have been packed with things like pillows and cots in case emergency shelters have to be set up.

Local volunteers are waiting to see if their help will be needed with disaster relief on the Gulf Coast.

"A lot of devastation, a lot of people in need and that's what the American Red Cross is here for. To help the people in need," said Patti Buckhiester, remembering the relief work she did for Hurricane Katrina.

Buckhiester is now waiting to hear if she will be called to help assess storm damage from Isaac.

"You have to know that you are going there to help people and so you know the need is there and someone needs to do it," said Buckhiester.

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