Thousands of volunteers needed for flood cleanup


by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE News and Photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 8:22 PM

AUSTIN -- A group of volunteers working to help flood victims say they're desperate for more help. In fact organizers say after responding to dozens of disasters, this is the lowest turnout of volunteers they've seen.

Volunteers with the Austin Disaster Relief Network say they need thousands of volunteers to make a difference down in the neighborhood near Onion Creek, but right now they have about 400.

Wearing a Hawaiian lei around her neck, Cordelia Torres sifts through what's salvageable from her home.

"I'm just trying to keep my spirits up with everything that's happened," Torres said. "It's really not good. Just cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. That's all we can do."

The neighborhood is filled with dumpsters and crews collecting ruined furniture and debris that's piled on the side of the street.

"It looks terrible. It's sad, you know," said Torres.

Many people can't stay in their homes, but they're trying to clean what's left.

"There are anywhere from 400 to 500 homes that are going to need to be cleaned up. My best guess is we've hit about 10 percent of those homes," said ADRN Executive Director Daniel Geraci.

Geraci said typically in a situation like this, volunteers show up quickly in big numbers.

"On the Saturday after the disaster in West and in Moore, there was 3,000 volunteers coming up to do cleanup or warehousing. For here on that Saturday, we were the only ones out here," he claimed. "I was really surprised I didn't even see one person from the street say 'Hey can I help?'"

He says this weekend they need about 5,000 volunteers to even make a dent.

"I don't think people really know the depth of the disaster that we have on our hands here," Geraci said.

Neighbors like Torres say they hope the word gets out and fast.

"Just be there, I guess, for people when they need you," she said.

Visit this website for more information on how you can help. Geraci suggests wearing boots, not tennis shoes, if you plan on helping. He also recommends wearing jeans and bringing tools if you have them.

Find more ways to help victims here.