PORTLAND (AP) – Five Red Cross volunteers from southern Maine rushed to west Florida to help after Hurricane Charley left many people in piles of destruction in homes they once lived in.

Volunteer Kimberly Gorelick, 35, has trained to work in disaster areas and has skills in human resources. She flew to Florida on Wednesday but was unsure what she’ll be doing there, or where she will work during her three-week rotation.

“My function is mass care, and mass care includes the feeding and sheltering and covering of basic human needs for anyone who is a victim of a disaster,” she said. “I could be doing any number of things from working within shelters where people are staying to driving around in the erv,’ the emergency response vehicle.”

Others traveled from Maine to Florida for more personal reasons. Michelle Monroe Damman, of Buxton, drove there on Monday with relatives to check on her grandfather’s house in Port Charlotte, near where the hurricane reached landfall on Saturday.

Her grandfather was in Maine when Charley hit, and is now surveying the damage to his Florida home and trying to clean up.

“The roof blew off his garage,” Damman said. “His garage is pretty much a total loss. The door is gone, the roof is gone and most of the stuff in it has water damage of some kind – right now it’s raining.”

There was no electricity in Port Charlotte or the neighboring town of Punta Gorda on Wednesday, and the roads were clogged with traffic as people try to get food and ice and check on relatives, Damman said.

“It’s a mess,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like this before. The one thing that really struck me is that all of the trees are either gone, uprooted or snapped in half. The landscape is just so alien.”


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