(BIVN) – Residents who evacuated from their homes due to the Kilauea eruption have been able to find refuge at two American Red Cross shelters in Puna.
In a recent interview, Red Cross shelter manager Alohalani Smith talked about how the families – even those with pets – have settled into the new Pahoa gym. Many are living in personal tents, inside and out of the gym. The adjacent Pahoa Community Center was also being used as a shelter.
A second shelter is located at the Kea’au Community Center.
The numbers of residents taking shelter at the two facilities has fluctuated. As of midnight on Monday night, there were 232 residents at the Pahoa shelter (not including those who chose to stay outside in the parking lot) and 30 residents at the Keaau shelter. 82 Red Cross workers have been assisting evacuees with their immediate emergency needs, the organization says.
“Since May 3, the Red Cross, along with Hawaii County partners, have distributed hundreds of blankets, sheets, pillows, futons, towels, masks, toiletry kits, and other items; as well as over 6,400 snacks,” Red Cross says. “The Red Cross is also working with the Salvation Army to provide meals. Additionally, trained Red Cross nurses and mental health volunteers are staffing the shelters and have provided health and mental health services to 840 individuals.”
The Hawaii Red Cross is also looking for Big Island volunteers to staff the shelters. To volunteer, please go to www.redcross.org and complete an online volunteer application. For questions, call (808) 739-8123.