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Crews from the Panhandle gear up to help with Harvey disaster relief

Crews from the Panhandle gear up to help with Harvey disaster relief (Photo by the Red Cross). 

Crews in the Texas Panhandle are gearing up to go to the south to help with disaster relief.

As many residents on the coast travel away from the storm, some crews are heading toward it.

"The spirit of the community up here in the Panhandle is just like no other," said Kiley Murray, Red Cross of the Texas Panhandle Executive Director. "I know people will respond. We have friends and family and business partners. Texas is one big family."

The Red Cross in the Panhandle is on standby. They are getting ready to step in and help if needed. Murray says they will likely be relieving other red cross volunteers who need a break.

"Flooding and hurricanes are so hard to deal with because they're long-lasting," said Murray.

He predicts this will affect the communities for years.

Xcel and Atmos Energy are also on standby. Xcel Energy says they have to wait for the storm to pass and then they could get a call to go down and help.

Atmos Energy says the impact area is mainly outside its service area, but they do have customers in Louisiana who could be affected.

"It's amazing how resilient people are because they are helping someone else and in that situation probably the same would be excepted in the event that we had something that happened in the Panhandle or happened to us here," said Roy Urrutia with Atmos Energy.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, Atmos Energy sent 10-20 employees from the Panhandle.

The High Plains Food Bank is also prepared to help if necessary. They tell ABC 7 News they are short resources already and do not have much to give, but if needed they will help.

The Salvation Army of Amarillo is deploying tomorrow.

"It is a little nerve-wracking, but we've got a team," said Lt. Justin Vincent, Salvation Army Assistant Corps Officer. "We prepare. In the Salvation Army we have hours and hours of classes to prepare us: food service, emotional, spiritual care that kind of thing. Just trying to make sure we can meet as many needs as we can."

Saturday they will leave for Dallas in the canteen truck, stocked with first aid and food supplies.

"Disasters of this size take forever to be fully relieved and those people to have what they once had," said Vincent.

Both the Salvation Army and the Red Cross are asking people to donate. They can donate by phone or on location.

Murray says the damage is predicted to cost anywhere from $2 to $10 million.

The City of Amarillo's Director of Water Utilities is also on standby to respond. If deployed, he will help with water and wastewater utilities damage assessments.

The Amarillo Fire Department is sending to firefighters to help as well.


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