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As Louisiana Residents Flee Region Ahead Of Hurricane Ida, New Yorkers Head South To Help

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As Hurricane Ida gets closer to making landfall in Louisiana, some New Yorkers have mobilized to help.

As Hurricane Ida barrels towards the Gulf Coast, residents are fleeing the region, but there are some New Yorkers who have chosen to head towards the danger.

"There's a sense of anxiety," said Jose Dominguez, chief volunteer services officer for the American Red Cross in Greater New York. "The traffic build-up, obviously, is there ... People are preparing. They are taking the message, a voluntary evacuation, seriously and they're stocking up, so you see some empty shelves."

Dominguez oversees the volunteer department for the American Red Cross in Greater New York. He and about a dozen others from our area arrived in Louisiana over the last few days.

They, along with other volunteers from across the country, are preparing for Ida.

"We have about 16 shelters that are on standby, ready to be filled," Dominguez told CBS2's Kiran Dhillon. "We are setting up the cots. We're putting blankets on those cots. We have comfort kits, which include hygiene items ... We have about 68,000 ready-to-eat meals that are available for anybody who comes to our shelters."

CEO Mary Barneby heads up the New York region of the Red Cross.

She anticipates that in the days to come, even more volunteers will be deployed.

"Once everything kind of settles in and the storm has passed, that's when a lot of the work really begins because people then really do need a helping hand. They need resources. They need agencies to work together to get them what they need to get back on their feet," Barneby said.

The Red Cross isn't the only local group galvanizing efforts.

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management tweeted Saturday that New Jersey Task Force 1 has been activated as part of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System to deploy to assist with the rescue and recovery efforts resulting from Hurricane Ida.

Here at home, the New York City's Department of Emergency Management says it has no plans just yet to deploy resources.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross is asking people for financial donations or to sign up to be a volunteer. It's also asking for those who can to donate blood. For more information, visit

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

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