Rescue services from all over US head to victims of Hurricane Florence

Troops from Kentucky Air Guard 123rd Airlift Wing load supplies for Hurricane Florence victims. Credit: Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton

Services from all over the US are heading to North Carolina and South Carolina to help with rescuing citizens trapped by Hurricane Florence.

As of 17 September, a confirmed 17 people have been killed by the storm, but the high amount of rain and fast winds are causing flash flooding and river floods in communities in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Around 900 people have been rescued by a combined rescue group consisting of the Coast Guard, the National Guard, firefighters from North Carolina, South Carolina, California and more. National Guard troops from 10 other states have responded to calls for aid, with UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, C-17 Globemaster, C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft and KC-135 Stratotanker refuelers all providing air support for citizens. The troops come from Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, Montana and other states, also bringing with them swift-water boats and high-water vehicles for rescue, security, generators, communications, road clearing, debris removal, food, water and cot deliveries, and support to shelters and distribution points.

"This is one of the best parts of being a Guardsman, answering the call for help from citizens of our neighbouring states," said Army Col Dwayne Lewis, commander, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade, Kentucky National Guard. "As an aviation unit, we know the expertise we bring is sometimes the only hope that those in need may have, and we take the mission of supporting our neighbours and rendering life sustaining aid very seriously."

The storm has caused major power-outages in cities across the region. Wilmington, North Carolina is reportedly cut off from the rest of the state due to flooding. Around 400 citizens in total have been saved from the flood water in the city, but the remainder of its population of 120,000 are still in the city without power.

North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper has warned that citizens in the area should be braced for flash flooding at all times, and that ‘the storm has never been more dangerous than it is right now’. In total, around 900 people have been rescued in North Carolina, with 15,000 still in emergency shelters.

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