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Connecticut volunteers assist with Hurricane Ian relief efforts

Stamford-based organization Americares and the American Red Cross are deploying relief workers to Florida.

CONNECTICUT, USA — Stamford-based organization Americares and the American Red Cross are sending volunteers from Connecticut to Florida to assist with Hurricane Ian relief efforts. 

The American Red Cross said they have more than 20 volunteers from Connecticut and Rhode Island either on the ground or getting ready to leave.

More than 500 volunteers from across the country have signed up to work at shelters and help with supply distribution and disaster assessment.

RELATED: Middletown students using emergency operations center to help during Hurricane Ian

Volunteer Gary Liseo from Bristol is on standby. He is getting packed and ready to deploy in case more help is needed. He said his parents live in Central Florida.

"They're like, we don't know what's going to happen to the house in this storm," Liseo said.

This would be Liseo's first deployment, but it's a cause close to his heart. He has been a Red Cross blood donor since 2015 and wanted to pitch in.

"We don't know what's going to happen. What they may lose or may have lost as is so being able to help is just going to be a really good thing to do for them," he said.

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Americares is getting ready to deploy relief workers to Florida. They donated medicine, medical supplies and grants to partner organizations across Florida, Georgia and Alabama ahead of the storm. 

A team will go there to determine additional needs as well. U.S. Emergency Response Director Mariel Fonteyn said she is leaving Wednesday night.

The plan is to land at the closest airport they can get access to and head to Tampa and surrounding areas where there is a need from there, Fonteyn said. Additional staff from Americares are going to Florida over the weekend. 

RELATED: Passengers return from Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian

"Getting medicine out after disasters is incredibly important. A lot of times people have to evacuate quickly, they tend to forget medicines, in addition to the injuries and medical needs that come from the natural disaster itself," she said.

Teams will work with primary care providers to offer basic medical care and ensure locals with chronic conditions still have their medicines, such as insulin for diabetes. Fonteyn said Americares will also provide mental health support to health care providers and first responders.

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at emachado@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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