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Utahns Helping Florida Hurricane Victims

Utahns Helping Florida Hurricane Victims



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Jed Boal ReportingThousands of people left homeless by the hurricane could be in shelters for weeks, even months. Relief workers are in for the long haul too.

Shelters are home now for thousands in Florida. Tents, mobile kitchens and feeding centers sprang up amid the devastation. Red Cross staff is stretched thin, and more than a dozen Utahns will help.

Ed Knowles worked abroad for seven years helping refugees in war-torn countries; he's worked with the Red Cross a year.

Ed Knowles, Red Cross Mass Care Officer: “I have a passion for helping people and making sure people can live as well as we do here in the states. So when I returned to the states, it was just a continuation of wanting to help people."

Knowles is a mass care technician, he'll help set up and run shelters. He'll likely be gone a month, but when he saw the destruction on television, he wanted the assignment, wanted to help people who'd lost everything but the clothes on their back.

Ed Knowles: “My first thought is, ‘I need to be there. It's just to passive and tame right here.’ I like to get into the middle where people need the most help."

A total of 15 Utahns will head to Florida. While there they will help with everything from distributing goods the people need to administering to their emotional and mental needs.

The devastation takes its toll on relief workers too; it's stressful and draining.

Ed Knowles, Mass Care Officer: “We also have staff members from the red cross that keep an eye, not only on the people in the shelters, but also on us."

Federal disaster money is arriving, but hundreds of thousands still have no phones, no water, and no gas for their cars.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a truckload of emergency supplies from Atlanta. A second truck of supplies left the Salt Lake City bishops' central storehouse on Friday.

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