What Will Happen When Hurricane Victims Arrive?

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

As soon as hurricane victims get off the plane in Rockford, they will be welcomed by a host of local leaders, medical staff and various volunteers. Here’s a look at the process the evacuees will go through – and a look at how victims will be assimilated into our community.

We don't even know their names, but already our community is ready to help at least 200 hurricane victims get back on their feet. Local leaders made final preparations Tuesday - just hours before evacuees were schedule to arrive at the Greater Rockford Airport.

"This is what we're about in this community - we're about helping others and this is a very tangible way now that our community can help out," says Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey.

Victims will arrive at gate 3. They’ll immediately get a bracelet that will be stamped along the way... As they travel through steps A-E. It's an information gathering process – at each stop evacuees will give details such as identification information and medical conditions.

"To identify underlying chronic disease conditions, medication issues, mobility issues, infectious disease issues and make sure we deal with them appropriately," explains Mike Bacon of the Winnebago County Health Department.

A special room has been set up for those with additional medical needs.

At the end of the process, the Red Cross will provide victims with money and toiletries. Volunteers will also help evacuees get to local hotels, where temporary housing has been set up.

The department of human services will take it from there:

"We're looking at longer term or permanent housing, looking at employment and schooling issues - issues of transportation, food, clothing - all the basic human needs really," says George Davis of the Department of Human Services.

Davis says this relief effort is one of the biggest challenges his agency has ever faced. But with the support of our community - he's quite certain we'll succeed.

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