PANAMA CITY, Fla. – In the wake of a disaster the magnitude of Hurricane Michael, it’s all hands on deck to help, regardless of race, religion, age or gender.
Seven members from the Islamic Relief USA Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) have joined forces with the American Red Cross to do damage assessment in the aftermath of the devastating storm.
Islamic Relief USA has been partnering with Red Cross since 2011, sending members to serve on more than 30 relief operations with the Red Cross.
Islamic Relief staffer Maryam Ahmed from Virginia is on her 14th deployment with the Red Cross. “Hearing about disasters and seeing the destruction, you just want to do your part,” she said. “Being able to bring in volunteers to help makes every day worth it.”
Red Cross Damage Assessment lead in Panama City Scott Sylvester is grateful for the help.
“We're very excited to have a volunteer group from the Islamic Relief team joining us here in Panama City to help with damage assessment in Bay County. Many of the team members have previously been involved with partnerships with the Red Cross and some of them have even used our mobile data collection application on previous disasters,” he said.
“These types of long-term community partnerships our essential to our mission and we welcome their support in this effort.”
Damage assessment involves surveying the extent of disaster-related residential damage, which helps the Red Cross plan what kind of help is needed and where.
Volunteer Marwah Bahanan from Maryland is on her third deployment under this partnership. “It’s humbling to meet so many people – both volunteers and people affected by the disaster,” she said. “Everyone is so welcoming.”
The Islamic Relief team will spend a week in the Florida panhandle. Staffer Araif Yusuff was excited about his team’s assignment.