Missouri Task Force One Leader gives updates on Florence
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Task Force One continues its work with victims of Hurricane Florence this week. The task force is stationed in Brunswick County, North Carolina and working with local fire department personnel, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard.
Since Florence came ashore last Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane, some locations in North Carolina have received more than 30 inches of rain and other parts of the Carolinas have received 20 inches.
The teams have evacuated five neighborhoods in the area and rescued about 125 people. The task force is also working with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Task Force leader Randy Sanders said his team is split between two cities in the area, Leland and Bolivia, which are now separated by water.
“We get right into the field as soon as possible, and we have people in water…houses and residents that need to be evacuated by boat,” Sanders said.
Sanders said the Task Force has brought its own equipment from Missouri as well as K-9 units, doctors and paramedics, hazmat personnel and a search and rescue team. He said about 47 people are there volunteering, split up into two groups of 21 and 26.
Sanders said The Task Force will be in neighborhoods Monday night and will take extra precaution, since it is much more dangerous to work in the dark. The North Carolina residents have a curfew of 6 p.m. preventing them for wandering around at night.
“Evening times are really dangerous for us. Being out at night operations in water with a boat, we’re really particular about that," Sanders said. “We try to limit that to high risk situations.”
Sanders said this week has been a lot of hard work but he appreciates the support from back home and the connections he and his team have made with the people in the Carolinas.
“Everyone has a story when we bring them out of the water and put them in a boat, whenever you help them," Sanders said. "They’re very heartfelt that we’re there to help them.”
Sanders said the force is currently on an island separated from most of the town. He expects more flooding to occur on Tuesday and Wednesday and he says he does not expect to leave anytime soon.
“For right now, we’re not going anywhere,” Sanders said.