Relief efforts gearing up for flood victims; officials warn agai - | WBTV Charlotte

Relief efforts gearing up for flood victims; officials warn against scams

Source: Steve Ohnesorge-WBTV Source: Steve Ohnesorge-WBTV
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew there are thousands of people who need even the most basic essentials like food and water.  Relief efforts are already gearing up, and unfortunately, so are scams designed to take advantage of the situation.

Attorney General Roy Cooper and Governor Pat McCrory have both been warning residents about the possibility of scams that would take advantage of victims as well as those looking to help.

“As always, in times of disaster there’s lot of people looking to scam, potential ways of scamming," said Heather LeMaster, a Disaster Program Specialist with the American Red Cross.  "Make sure your donations are going where you want them to go, the best way to do that is through an affiliated sponsor whether it’s the redcross.org or somebody else that’s taking donations.”

Companies like Food Lion and organizations such at the North Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief are already gearing up donations and relief efforts for those hit hard in eastern North Carolina, and in some cases, individuals are putting together their own efforts.

“It’s just a bad situation and people were not prepared for this," said Sissy Revels Smith who works with IT Computer Solutions in Indian Trail. “I’m hoping that the community of Indian Trail and Charlotte will step up and bring in water, supplies, baby supplies, blankets, non-perishable foods, everything basically needed to help the families get through.”

Revels Smith is originally from Robeson County, one of the areas with significant damage from flooding. She’s turning her business into a drop-off point for supplies she plans to take to the area. 

“The conditions are pretty bad right now.  We have downed power lines, we have flooding in some of the areas," said Lynn Locklear.  

Locklear lives in Red Springs and is the brother-in-law to Revels Smith. He was his wife came to stay a few days with Sissy and he is helping with this homemade relief effort.

Revels Smith is accepting donations at the business located at 319 Unionville-Indian Trail Road in Indian Trail.

“Right now the best way to help people that have been affected by Matthew is to donate to the Red Cross," LeMaster added.  “Another opportunity we have right now is there’s a massive shortage of blood platelets and blood products because of all the drives that got canceled throughout the southeast, you can schedule an appointment for a blood drive at redcross.org.

For those looking for a hands-on experience, LeMaster says special classes will be forming soon to provide training.

“An opportunity we are working on is a volunteer boot camp where we can train volunteers quickly to go to eastern North Carolina," LeMaster added.  More details on the boot camps will be released in the next few days.

Those wishing to receive help can do so by applying online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.  

Residents may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.

Farmers who have an agricultural emergency can call 1-866-645-9403, and find additional information at www.ncagr.gov/disaster

Dial 211 for North Carolina’s toll-free emergency hotline, and 511 for road updates from the N.C. Department of Transportation. Additional Information can be found at: https://readync.org/

If you've been a victim of a scam, contact the North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper's consumer hotline at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or fill out a complaint at www.ncdoj.gov. Officials say common hurricane scams include price gouging, home repair scams, charity scams and people posing as FEMA officials.

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