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Shortage of BR Red Cross volunteers leaves only one to help with hurricane relief

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BATON ROUGE - As millions in Puerto Rico face a crisis after Hurricane Fiona, a shortage in volunteers leaves Red Cross with only one member to send from Baton Rouge. 

With a dedicated team that trains year-round for disasters and relief, the Red Cross team is always ready for dispatch, only this time, they're also in need of some help.

"We do need more volunteers because, without the volunteers, Red Cross can't operate," volunteer leader Marc Adams said. "We can't go out there and do our mission in the community, alleviate suffering, that's one of our biggest missions, and we can't do that without our volunteers." 

Louisiana has a total of 1,600 volunteers in the Red Cross community. Members with the force say that's no longer enough. 

On July 31, four of its volunteers set out to Kentucky to help with flood relief, Adams tells us, and some members of that task force are still there, dealing with the aftermath of the disaster. 

More recently, there were also deployments to California to help with wildfire relief and to Alaska to help after a typhoon struck the state. Both missions only had one Red Cross volunteer to travel and assist.

Lindsay Mathieson, another volunteer, says they've noticed more natural disasters in the past few years. 

"Since I started five years ago, there is a difference, there's more flooding," Mathieson said. "The hurricanes accelerate more rapidly, they're less predictable, so how we are responding is adapting to how natural disasters are changing."

To keep up with an increase in natural disasters, Red Cross is asking the city of Baton Rouge for its help. To get involved, more information on volunteering is available on their website. 

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