Maine agencies ready to help hurricane victims

Maine agencies work to aide Houston

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Mainers are already stepping up to help the thousands of people in Texas who are victims of Hurricane Harvey, and more are likely to be helping in the weeks ahead.

Five members of the Red Cross in Maine are in Texas, working on shelter and relief efforts. More volunteers are expected to join them soon.

State agencies are also preparing to provide help. When disasters hit, the Maine National Guards and Maine Emergency Management Agency are usually on the front lines. MEMA's Kathleen Rusley said Monday that agency will likely be called to help with recovery once the storm stops. MEMA staff did deploy several years ago to Hurricane Sandy in New York and Connecticut.

Rusley said until the call comes, they are keeping a close watch on what’s happening in Houston, so they can be  ready to react.

"Right  now I’m sure Texas is in the process, still has the disaster ongoing," she said. Once they get to a point they start to look at recovery they can assess what is needed at that point."

Rusley said MEMA was called to provide a swift water rescue team, but they don't have one.

The Maine National Guard is in a similar situation. Adjutant General Douglas Farnham said he expects Maine Guard soldiers and airmen will be called in to help in Texas, but it may be to relieve units from Texas and neighboring states that are already there.

Meanwhile, five other Mainers are in Texas as part of a FEMA Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) The leader of a Maine volunteer medical group called Maine Task Force One, of which the DMAT volunteers are also members, said the five people got the call Thursday night to head to Texas advance of the hurricane. He said they are part of a 40-member team that will set up and staff an emergency medical clinic in the disaster area.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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