Red Cross had resources for only one shelter in Rocky Mount, NC; volunteers set up another : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

From WRAL-TV (Raleigh): Friday September 17, 1999 11:36 PM

Volunteers Provide Shelter for Rocky Mount Evacuees

ROCKY MOUNT (WRAL) -- Thousands of people in Rocky Mount have had to flee their homes due to rising flood waters. The Red Cross only had the resources to set up one shelter in Nash County. For people who had to flee the waters in the Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount, volunteers set up a shelter of their own.

Blankets may not seem like much to get excited about, but hundreds of evacuees who had been sleeping on a hard gym floor were grateful this small comfort was delivered.

Parker Middle School was not intended to be a safe haven, but many of the evacuees from Rocky Mount could not reach the nearest shelter ten miles away in Nash County. So the school opened its doors and volunteers set up a makeshift shelter.

Because this is not an official shelter, there was no food, and at times there was no power or air conditioning. Friday, three days after many families arrived here, the Salvation Army showed up and delivered their first meal.

For many Rocky Mount residents, all they can do now is wait.

Water is beginning to recede in some areas, and some roads are being reopened, but there is still a tremendous amount of flooding and a number of areas without power.

Parker Middle School will remain open until everyone can leave. The Salvation Army will also begin providing three meals a day until the shelter is emptied.

-- Old Git (, September 18, 1999


Old Git,

Thanks for the update. Most people are unaware that this happens. I was involved in a major evacuation of our local 2 counties a few years ago and we had similar problems. I spent hours one night trying to convince local tv stations to announce a need for blankets and toilet paper at a local school which had 500+ people in it but because it wasn't yet an "offical Red Cross Shelter" and I wasn't from "Red Cross" they wouldn't do it. I was pretty disgusted. Yes supplies came from Red Cross after 4 days and the people were already gone. This happened at least twice that I am aware of. The wonderful people of the communities where the shelters were located made sure people were fed and cared for as best as possible. I know the Red Cross does a very big job but we can't rely on them for our safety. Sometimes problems are too widespread.

-- Kristi (, September 18, 1999.

All too instructive! Take heed and prepare to be self-reliant. Old Git and Kristi, thanks for your many educational postings. Nothing like first-hand accounts to drill it into resistant noggins that there ain't gonna be no Big Momma to take care of it all.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, September 18, 1999.

And be prepared to camp out of the car... even if "temporarily" at a community shelter.

Be prepared... to be mobile.


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 18, 1999.

Diane, I hadn't ever thought of the camp out in car at the shelter location...

Especially since most shelters are in schools or churches, it would be nice to have one's car to at least sleep in and for some degree of privacy. Even if it's cold, as has been pointed out, electricity and heat may not be available inside the shelter building. If you had sub-zero sleeping bags, you'd be ok for sleeping in the car. Plus you'd be able to have some of your other supplies ... although, I'd imagine if you have a load of food it will be requisitioned by the shelter.

-- Shelia (, September 18, 1999.


You can't always count on the shelter to have what you need, or to remain "safe." Sometimes, they have to move too. At other times, they are way too overcrowded. (Just have back-up plans to your alternate plans).

One thing I noticed in the latest news coverage is the Red Cross was logistically slow to repond. Basically, the first responder, to any emergencies impacting you and your family is... you.


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 18, 1999.

Pls. remember that military bases are often used to "shelter" people in an emergency. Here that meant that people had to park their cars in a remote location on base and the military "shuttled" them to the shelter and they were not allowed to leave unless on the military shuttle and only when there was personnel available to watch over them as they got things from their cars and then accompanied them back to the bus. Just one more thing to think about.

-- Kristi (, September 18, 1999.


Another reason to avoid shelters... esp. on a military base. (I'd rather go camping).



-- Diane J. Squire (, September 18, 1999.

See also...

OT - ? Millions still must boil water, live without power and telephones 001QeG

NC disaster taught me 1st hand how vunerable we are 001Qiy

-- Diane J. Squire (, September 18, 1999.

Certainly proves the worth of a bug out bag. I BET most of those people got out with little more than the clothes on their backs. I on the other hand, could have camped out in the car for up to a WEEK with little or no outside help. Give me a measly 20 mins notice, and we could camp out for up to a month or more (not that this is fun, mind you...).

It isn't hard or expensive to put together a basic bag. If these people who live in a PROVEN disaster-prone area would get off their duffs and forget the American Dreamland for just a little while, they wouldn't have had to suffer so much.

My sister, who lives in Raleigh NC, while not flooded out, has no power, no sewer, etc. She came up to visit family in MD, and was ok. At least she had a bug out type bag all set to go on short notice, and didn't wait like the rest of the lemmings for official govt orders to evacuate. She isn't the smartest, but I'll give her that.

-- Bill (, September 19, 1999.

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