This is an urgent message

Hurricane Florence is projected to hit the coast along North and South Carolina late this week (likely Thursday night). This will be the first major hurricane to hit the US this year and there is now little doubt that this will be a major, prolonged disaster. If you live in or near the likely disaster zone we urge you to begin preparing now.

Current Projections:

Hurricane Florence is anticipated to make landfall somewhere along the Carolina coast as a Category 4 storm with winds up to 145 mph. It is too early to tell where exactly the storm will hit and who will be affected by wind damage.

– Florence will be a very large storm. Regardless of where it makes landfall, a large area will be affected. A large section of the Carolina coast will face very high storm surge flooding.

– After moving inland quickly, Florence is expected to stall out. This would most likely cause extremely heavy rainfall and major inland flooding throughout northeastern South Carolina, southeastern West Virginia, and throughout North Carolina and Virginia this weekend.

-The storm’s potential path also includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous eastern hog farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons.

We cannot stress how serious a situation this is. As with any forecast, there is some uncertainty, but confidence is high that this will be a major storm. You can read more about Hurricane Florence here.

The Time to Act is Now

Just as government and non-profit agencies are starting to prepare for this storm, our communities must act now to support one another, sustain life and ensure marginalized and at risk persons.

In disasters of this scale, marginalized communities are often left behind, and there are many poor, Black, and rural communities in the cross-hairs of this storm. As always, people will depend on mutual aid for their survival in the days ahead. Getting ready now can make a real difference.

If you live in the potential disaster zone, gather needed supplies for at least a few days. This includes food, water, a flashlight, batteries, first aid supplies and cash if possible. Keep your phone charged and gas tank full leading up to the storm. Be sure to have the latest updates on road closures as evacuations are already underway and numerous roadways will be closed once the storm nears landfall.

Keep in mind your family and neighbor’s specific needs, including medications and ability to evacuate or get access to safe spaces before the storm.

Consider evacuation or going to a safe shelter. Also be mindful that vulnerable persons such as those who are Undocumented, those with mental health issues, persons with outstanding legal issues and those experiencing homelessness may not feel comfortable or safe in emergency shelters where police may do the check ins and could use it as a dragnet to make arrests.  If possible, contact the emergency shelters in your community to discern if police are running ID checks on shelter seekers. Subsequently, making this information as accessible as possible to the community via social media/flyers and word of mouth is critical.

Try to put your important documents in a safe place and enclose them in sealed plastic bags. Reach out to your friends and loved ones and make sure they will be ok, with special attention to prisoners, people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, farmworkers, older adults, and other historically marginalized folks.

Also, think about the connections, networks, and assets you already have in your community. Where might be a potential place to operate a decentralized relief effort out of? What supply donations might you be able to tap into? The biggest antidote to fear is coming together with your trusted friends and comrades and strategizing together how to be there for each other.

Emergency high intensity regional emergency shelter opening info:
(Note: these shelters have not yet been non-police presence verified at this time)

Live updates on storm trajectory, intensity and issued alerts.

The Mutual Aid Disaster Relief network is ready and willing to assist in any needs that arise. Please reach out as you are able. You can always reach us at [email protected]

Our good friends in Blue Ridge Autonomous Defense Crew and Tidewater Solidarity Collective have already been gearing up to respond. If you live nearby or can travel, and wish to respond as well, try to establish communications with friends, movement contacts, and loved ones in potentially impacted areas now which will greatly facilitate a rapid response built on community consent and self determination.

Think about potentially collecting supplies or monetary donations for those impacted. Know that roads may be affected, gas shortages may occur and power may be out, and plan accordingly. If Hurricane Florence causes what is projected to be widespread damage, assistance will be needed in a sustained effort, thus short term as well as long term recovery and relief mutual aid efforts will be critical.

Safety in all storms,
– Mutual Aid Disaster Relief