Northshore offers helping hand during Hurricane Sandy

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
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ABITA SPRINGS, La. — Some people on the Northshore with plenty of experience with big storms are offering a helping hand to the Northeast.

As more than 100 shelters across New England filled up Monday with families fleeing Hurricane Sandy, Abita Springs resident Tanya Gulliver welcomed some of them at one haven in New Jersey. “We have 310 people staying in our shelter, and it’s in a gym at the university so it’s not that big and we’re just trying to keep people calm and safe as they wait out the storm,” Gulliver said. Gulliver is helping out at the Red Cross shelter based on Rutgers’ campus, where there’s a lot of waiting, a lot of worrying and a lot of warnings from people like her with hurricane experience. “A lot of the flooding might not happen on the same day as the storm comes through. The concern about the systems meeting here means that coastal flooding might occur after,” she said.

There’s a lot of waiting happening back home on the Northshore too, where some emergency responders are watching weather reports closely. “Until the event makes landfall, until the event is in progress or over with, it’s hard to assess what their needs might be,” said St. Tammany Fire District #12 spokesman James Hartman.

For other organizations, like first responders, that want to help, but are waiting to see if help is needed, equipment is already on standby, including generators for power outages, chainsaws for downed trees and advice for anyone. “The folks being impacted by Hurricane Sandy are not as accustomed to these events as we are and so there’s a great deal of compassion from anyone here, not just from first responders but from citizens in South Louisiana,” Hartman said. The Red Cross says depending on the outcome of the storm, more volunteers may be sent this week.