Six days after arriving in Columbus to escape Hurricane Irma, evacuees filled the last four school buses in Columbus on Thursday and returned to Brunswick, Ga.
Adelaide Kirk, executive director of the American Red Cross for West Central Georgia, said the staff was busy shutting down the Civic Center after the Glynn County buses left at 10:30 a.m.
“We are working on the teardown process,” she said Thursday afternoon. “We are just about completely out of the Civic Center.”
The Civic Center at 400 Fourth St. is the last shelter to close after the Frank Chester Recreation and Senior Center closed at 1441 Benning Drive on Tuesday. The two facilities were temporary shelters for about 600 evacuees fleeing the Hurricane Irma. The storm left heavy damage in Florida and south Georgia.
During their stay in Columbus, Kirk said the Red Cross and other agencies were able to handle the needs of a diverse group with many health needs. Some evacuees admitted they required daily medication at the temporary facility.
“We had mental health services provided between the Red Cross and the community,” Kirk said. “Public health was able to work with us as well.”
Kirk said she didn’t know how many visitors required services. “The Red Cross made sure they were taken care of so all had their medicine,” she said. “When we opened the shelter, we were aware that there would be health needs.”
The Red Cross is prepared to step in and fill a need during a disaster. “Frankly, it’s something we do all the time,” Kirk said. “If someone’s home burned down and they don’t have access to their medication and need something immediately, we can step in, take that process and make that happen.”
During the shelter process, Kirk said the community came together as a whole to meet all their needs. Some evacuees even expressed a desire to stay after the storm.