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Hurricane Ian: Red Cross volunteers from Philadelphia region in Florida helping with relief efforts

Red Cross volunteers from Delaware Valley helping with Hurricane Ian relief efforts in Florida
Red Cross volunteers from Delaware Valley helping with Hurricane Ian relief efforts in Florida 02:30

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Florida is picking up the pieces of Hurricane Ian's deadly destruction. It could be months before debris is cleared and power is fully restored.

Red Cross volunteers from the Philadelphia area headed south late last week. And this weekend their relief efforts began.

Nineteen volunteers from Southeastern Pennsylvania and 30 from New Jersey are spread out across Florida with the destruction from Ian potentially not yet over. 

Four days after Hurricane Ian made landfall, Red Cross volunteers from the Delaware Valley are on the ground in Florida. 

Lower Gwynedd resident Mary Noll flew down ahead of the storm on Thursday to help coordinate the National Fleet Operations Team and walked CBS3 through their Orlando hub lot Sunday afternoon. 

"We actually have inspected over 95 vehicles up to this point," Noll said. 

"We're opening two more shelters," Heidi Dampman, a Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania volunteer, said.  

Dampman, of King of Prussia, flew down on Saturday to help oversee the Red Cross' mass care kitchens – triaging supplies to hard-hit cities, including Fort Myers.

"They said they were very appreciative and thankful that we were out there serving them meals because you don't know the last time they had anything to eat, it's very hard to go find something to eat," Dampman said. 

With more food and supply vehicles set to deploy Monday, the help can't come soon enough

"A lot of places have lost power and so ice is a scarcity, fuel is a scarcity, money is a scarcity because ATM machines are empty," Noll said.

Noll first volunteered during Hurricane Katrina – one of the deadliest storms to ever hit the United States.

"To me it sounds like it  is basically on the same level. These people have been devastated and some people have been completely cut off," Noll said.

As many as 50 Red Cross shelters will stay open to support families who have lost everything as the danger is still not over.

"They're expecting another one to two feet rise in water level before it starts to fall," Noll said. 

One of the biggest short-term needs in addition to cash donations is blood donations.

 Anyone who may be able to help can click here to learn more. 

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