San Diego relief agencies prepare for Isaac

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter of the
American Red Cross sent five disaster workers to the Gulf Coast to prepare for
Tropical Storm Isaac, while San Diego-based International Relief Teams was
doing some early groundwork in case more help is needed, the agencies reported
Monday.

By early afternoon, Pacific Time, the National Hurricane Center reported
that Isaac was strengthening, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, just
short of hurricane force. It's expected to make landfall Wednesday near the
Louisiana/Mississippi border.

Courtney Pendleton of the American Red Cross in San Diego said five
workers were deployed to Florida to assist chapters in areas that might be
affected by the storm. After Isaac started moving west, at least one of the
five was re-deployed, she said.

Meanwhile, Barry La Forgia, executive director of International Relief
Teams, told City News Service he has been on the phone with health departments
in the states where landfall might occur to double-check on licensing
requirements for medical teams that might be deployed from San Diego.

La Forgia said a contact at the Department of Nursing in Mississippi
told him that Isaac was “a small storm compared to Katrina” and the media was
“overblowing it.”

He said he did not agree with that assessment.

“Hurricanes are unpredictable,” La Forgia said. “That thing could sit
out (in the Gulf of Mexico) and strengthen to a Category 2.”

Hurricanes are rated from 1-5, with 5 being the strongest.

IRT had medical teams in Mississippi for three months following
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to provide basic medical support services, like
making sure victims of chronic illnesses took their medicine, treating wounds
and giving tetanus shots, he said. Nearly 40 volunteer construction teams were
later sent to the area to repair or rebuild houses — the last one earlier this
year.

He said he had no idea whether a response will even be needed this time.

“We're just kind of monitoring the situation right now,” La Forgia said.

Categories: KUSI