Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Volunteers head to Florida

Cinergy also sends workers to restore power after Jeanne

By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer

Hurricanes keep hitting Florida and the Caribbean islands; and Greater Cincinnatians keep extending a helping hand.

Jenny Lemmink, a trauma nurse at University Hospital and a 13-year veteran of the American Red Cross' National Disaster Relief Team, provided two of those helping hands. The 43-year-old Bridgetown woman went to West Palm Beach on Sept. 5 and stayed for two weeks treating people who were displaced by Hurricane Frances.

Lemmink has seen plenty of life-changing problems in 16 years at the hospital, but said the succession of hurricanes in Florida is different.

"I can't even imagine what it's like for the people down there now, after being hit again," she said, referring to Hurricane Jeanne, which struck essentially the same stretch of Florida over this past weekend that Frances hit earlier this month.

Lemmink said there wasn't a lot of emergency care needed, but there were plenty of people in the shelters suffering from colds, headaches and stress.

Ashley Young, a spokeswoman for the Cincinnati Chapter of the Red Cross, said 37 volunteers have been sent to Florida and to parts of Ohio ravaged by flooding after remnants of Hurricane Ivan brought heavy rain to 19 counties.

A new batch of Cinergy 105 workers was dispatched to Florida over the weekend to help restore power to the 2.5 million people who lost electricity during the storm's peak. As of Tuesday, there were still about 1 million people in the dark.

Cinergy previously sent 160 workers after Hurricane Charley in August and 100 workers after Frances.

The local chapter of the Salvation Army sent some volunteers to the flood-stricken parts of Ohio, but has yet to send anyone to Florida. Public relations manager Tracy Hearn said a team of volunteers will probably go down in the next week or two.

The organization is providing food, water and other supplies in three cities in Haiti, which was devastated by Jeanne.


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