American Medical Response ambulance crews left AMR headquarters in Stone Mountain headed for Dallas where they will be staged and dispatched to Harvey disaster areas in Texas. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Volunteers, FEMA contractors from Georgia help with Harvey relief efforts

Volunteers and federal contractors from Georgia are heading to the Gulf Coast to help victims of Harvey, a devastating system that made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has killed at least five people in Texas.

Now a tropical storm, Harvey is still hanging over the Gulf and could bring a record amount of rainfall to Houston and other areas, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said.

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On Monday, 55 American Medical Response ambulance crews left headquarters in Stone Mountain headed for Dallas, where they will be staged before they are dispatched to disaster areas, spokesman Terence Ramotar told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

They are contracted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

“That’s the first round,” Ramotar said. “We anticipate (dispatching) more.”

Ramotar said when the crews arrive in Dallas, they will get their assignments because the situation is rapidly evolving.

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Red Cross volunteers Betty and Skip Matson of Monroe flew out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to join a team in Baton Rouge, La., which continues to see heavy rain and flooding, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Betty and Skip Matson of Monroe are helping with Harvey relief in Louisiana. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Skip Matson said Louisiana is receiving a lot of evacuees from Texas. He said he and his wife will prepare a contingency plan in case the storm makes landfall on Louisiana.

“Whatever we can do to keep them safe and keep them fed and then help them clean up afterwards is what we’re there for,” Betty Matson said.

Red Cross volunteers sort supplies and ready water for distribution. (Credit: American Red Cross)

More Red Cross workers will load supplies Monday afternoon from a warehouse in Union City to send to Texas.

Shelter kits, ready-to-eat meals, cots, blankets, personal hygiene items and kitchen supplies will be provided, Davina Mims, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, said.

Mims said the threat from Harvey is far from over and getting help in some areas will be challenging for some time due to devastating floodwaters and closed roads. 

“This is a heartbreaking and challenging situation for those in the storm’s path,” Mims said. “The American Red Cross is working around the clock to provide safe shelter and comfort for the hundreds of thousands of people impacted by this disaster.”

If you want to help, but can't make it to the front lines like the Matsons, the Red Cross says to call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word “Harvey” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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