Minnesota Refugee Agencies Inundated With Donations And Offers to Help

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreMinnesota has an unusual refugee problem — too many people volunteering to help.“We have four to five times the number of volunteer inquiries and interest,” the Minnesota Council of Churches told the Star Tribune. “It’s a wonderful problem to have.”The sudden surge has happened in just the last couple of weeks, as 31 governors around the U.S. demanded that no Syrian refugees be allowed in their states.GET OUR NEW GOOD NEWS APP—>  Download FREE for Android and iOSBut in Minnesota, citizens are offering to house refugees in spare bedrooms and teach English classes. They’re also flooding relief agencies with donations of coats, diapers, cash, and other items.Even though no Syrians have reached the state yet, their plight is raising awareness that has inspired people to help.According to the Star Tribune, five nonprofit agencies resettle about 2,000 refugees in Minnesota every year. Three of those groups report a sudden groundswell of support in the past two weeks.RELATED:  Scotland to Welcome Refugees With Screening of It’s a Wonderful LifeDonations to the International Institute of Minnesota have come from around the state and from 24 other states — many with governors rejecting refugees. The Institute, which resettled 465 mostly African and Asian immigrants last year, has received 500 phone calls from people asking to volunteer in the last two weeks.Catholic Charities report an upsurge of volunteers and the Council of Churches has had to put people wanting to help on a waiting list.Volunteer To Share This Story…  (Photo by DFID-UK, CC)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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Florida ‘prepares for the worst and hopes for the best’ ahead of Hurricane Irma

first_img Related iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Residents and officials in Puerto Rico and Florida are preparing for Hurricane Irma as it strengthens over the Caribbean into a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).The NHC said that “preparations should be rushed to completion” in hurricane warning areas, which include Puerto Rico and many other islands in the Caribbean.The storm is expected to approach Florida Sunday morning with winds of 145 miles per hour. Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency on Monday for every county in the state to ensure that local governments have enough “time, resources and flexibility to get prepared for this dangerous storm,” according to a statement from his office.As part of the state of emergency, the National Guard has been activated and schools have been closed.Scott said in the statement that Irma is a “life-threatening” storm and Florida “must be prepared.”“In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Scott said. “While the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared.”Residents are already stocking up on water, batteries, generators, plywood and other essentials as the storm nears the coastline. Scott urged residents to take the appropriate precautions.Ahead, here are some of the safety tips officials recommend for residents in Irma’s projected path.How to prepare outsideAccording to Ready.gov, the disaster preparedness website run by the Department of Homeland Security, people can take several steps to help mitigate damage to the exterior of their homes.Board up or tape shut windows and doors and lock any hurricane shutters.Trim nearby trees and get rid of loose limbs that could be ripped off in hurricane-force winds. This is one step that can be taken months in advance.Secure loose rain gutters and clean them out, preventing the buildup of debris that can lead to flooding.Fill cars with gas and park vehicles in garages when possible.How to prepare insideFor those staying in their homes, key steps can be taken ahead of time to ensure people have enough supplies to last through the storm.Keep portable generators dry and outside of the main house, ideally in a shed or garage.Stock up on bottled water and nonperishable in advance. Access to clean water may be limited for several days, and it may not be possible to leave and buy more supplies. Canned food is a good option, along with a manual (nonelectric) can opener.Protect important documents and paper items from flooding by storing them in a dry, safe place, ideally either on an upper floor or in a higher location on a lower floor.Prepare a first-aid kit, and make sure that any necessary medications are available in sufficient amounts to last multiple days.During previous hurricanes, FEMA has recommended that homeowners unplug electronic equipment -— including computers, televisions and wireless routers -— and move them to a safe place. Even if households have surge protectors, lightning strikes could be hazardous. Officials have also recommended rolling up area rugs and storing them on higher floors to reduce the chance of mold.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more

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