Virginia Pastors Lead Relief Gathering Efforts for Hurricane Ian Survivors in Florida

Virginia Pastors Lead Relief Gathering Efforts for Hurricane Ian Survivors in Florida

Two pastors in Virginia have taken the lead in collecting donations for Hurricane Ian survivors, a WHSV report bared.

Pastors Josh Wheeler and Joe Slagell explained that they aim to fill two containers measuring 40 feet each with relief items they hope to send to Florida residents in the aftermath of the latest hurricane.

'A Big Goal'

Pastor Joe Slagell of the Cornerstone Church in Harrisonburg, Va., said they have a huge target to fill in terms of relief aid.

"We have a big goal. We have two 40-foot containers at each of our locations. We would love to fill those all," he explained.

The Harrisonburg County pastor added their desire to lend a hand to Hurricane Ian-affected areas like Florida is somewhat 'automatic.'

"Naturally when something like what we have seen in Florida with hurricane Ian happens, our automatic reaction is what can we do to help and I believe that is the case with a lot of the community," Pastor Slagell told WHSV.

Details of Donation Drive

Pastor Joe Wheeler said people may donate anything they believe those in Florida would need at the moment. He referred to Pastor Slagell's call saying Florida residents need "a lot of toiletries" and canned goods, as well as 'clothing and toys for children.'

"Anything thing that you feel like they would want or need if you were experiencing what they are experiencing down in Florida. That is what we ask for," Wheeler said.

The news outlet said interested individuals may take their donations to Augusta Cornerstone Church at 1156 Tinkling Spring Rd. in Staunton or to Harrisonburg Cornerstone Church at 197 Cornerstone Ln.

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Hurricane Ian's Effects

The recent natural disaster to hit the U.S. has cost several billions in economic loss, with fatalities at 199 and rising based on a report by NPR.

The news outlet bared that many of the casualties come from Lee County in Florida, where its three islands bore the brunt of the hurricane. It added that Hurricane Ian had become the "deadliest storm" the state experienced since 1935 when a hurricane devastated Florida on Labor Day.

NPR said that a storm surge at the height of the hurricane drowned and killed many of the victims. It revealed that the surge reached 18 feet in some parts of the state.

Delayed Evacuation?

Following the devastation, questions on the government's pre-disaster evacuation efforts arose, with some alleging that the evacuation call was already too late.

Lee County, for one, reportedly delayed releasing its evacuation orders for residents for a full day. This is despite warnings from meteorologists about potentially fatal flooding concerning the impending hurricane.

Louisiana State University professor Brian Wolshon commented that deaths following natural disasters show a "failure" in the system.

"Obviously, if there's a death, there's a failure someplace. But it's hard to assign where that failure is in the system," he explained.

He added that in the case of Hurricane Ian and similar disasters with exceptionally high death tolls, a "post-storm analysis" could point out where the failure lies. He said the university will try to analyze where precisely in the chain of evacuation measures the message to evacuate people could have been relayed "earlier, better, or more effective."

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