Hawaii Red Cross responders in Louisiana - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii Red Cross responders in Louisiana

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Isaac continues to wreak havoc, Red Cross volunteers from Hawaii have reached Louisiana. Renise Bayne spoke to us from the cab of a delivery truck.

"We're in rain right now. Basically, we're just hoping that we're heading in a safe direction," she said by telephone.

Nineteen Hawaii Red Cross disaster relief responders are in Louisiana, or are heading there.

American Red Cross Hawaii State Chapter CEO Coralie Matayoshi knows how busy they will be. She helped after Katrina decimated New Orleans.

"The Red Cross is going to be doing an overall disaster assessment," she said. "Then they're going to be going street to street to see what people need."

She said that could mean 14-hour days for Red Cross personnel.

"We know that a lot of people have been evacuated. We're working sheltering. So we're just looking to see how many people we'll be taking care of, what the level of damage to their homes will be," Maui County Red Cross director Michele Liberty said by phone, after crossing the border from Texas into Louisiana.

Bayne left Hawaii on Tuesday. Her job is transport.

"We're just trying to get out there, get our orders, and make sure that we get to the places that we need to so we can off-load these palettes and get them to the people that need them," she said.

Wednesday night nearly 5,000 people stayed in 80 Red Cross shelters in states affected by Isaac.

"Our volunteers need to be there, not only to provide them with all the necessities, a blanket and cot and food, but for their mental health as well," Matayoshi said.

"What we do know for sure is that just because we come and we stand next to them at a time that's really hard for them, it does promote healing for them, and it does help them move along into that recovery phase," Liberty said.

Contributions toward Isaac relief efforts can be made at www.redcross.org or at 1-800-RED CROSS. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved

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