Hurricane Matthew has more than 200 people calling Macon home for the next few days. Can these shelters keep this number of evacuees safe? Claire Davis verified with Connie Hensler, the Executive Director of the Central Midwest Georgia Red Cross chapter. She says at North Macon Park’s shelter, they’re at full capacity.
Ann Brown, her son and niece are three of nine family members who left their hometown of Savannah ahead of Matthew. “There's 9 of us here. My 95-year-old grandmother, my sister, there's 9 of us. We all had to stay together,” said Brown.
The trip to Macon usually only takes three hours, but on Thursday, it took them 11.
Brown’s family is staying at North Macon Park's American Red Cross shelter, one of 3 in the county. “They're so helpful, they want to do everything for you. It's a great experience,” said Brown.
Red Cross Executive Director Connie Hensler verifies that 186 people are staying here. If they needed to open more shelters. “If we get close to capacity with all 3 then we could possibly open another shelter. We are closely monitoring that. Working with our EMA director and other partners so that we are ready should we have that need,” said Hensler.
When it comes to serving meals and making sure evacuees are fed, Hensler verifies they've got that handled. “Salvation Army is doing the feeding for us, so they're providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Of course, we have snacks available for the residents in the shelters,” said Hensler.
And if they need to keep the shelter open longer, “Right now, we're looking at staffing through the long weekend, but we can continue, you know, as long as there are needs,” said Hensler.
For now, Brown's family says they're just enjoying the time together.
Hensler says there are two other locations folks can go to. One is the East Macon Recreation Center on Ocmulgee East Boulevard. Hensler says there are 63 people registered there. The third, Hephzibah Children's home on Zebulon Road, there are 50 people.
We also verified that there are 3 shelters set up in Laurens County, Dublin, West Laurens and East Laurens High Schools.