Hundreds of thousands of Georgians are joining countless others who are packing up, loading their cars, and heading away from Hurricane Irma.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has issued a mandatory evacuation for nearly 540,000 coastal residents. Many of them headed west to Augusta, where unfortunately, they haven’t been able to find refuge. Some students at the University of Georgia have come up with a plan to help them out.
A group of UGA students is getting actively involved in the effort to provide shelter for evacuees fleeing Hurricane Irma’s wrath. Grady News Source students have created an information exchange on the college’s website, which allows people willing to open their homes to provide information for those moving away from the coast.
“You go on the website and as soon as you type in gradynewsource.uga.edu, our main story on that page is the Hurricane Irma Switchboard,” said student Garrett Michael. “And once you click on that, you’ll see a short description of what you need to do. Below that is a form to fill out.”
Michael says in addition to basic information, there is also room to provide more detailed information, including any physical disabilities or limitations, pets, etc. Then the Grady students go to work.
“You’re going to click submit and what that does is that comes to us. We’ve got the newsroom staffed right now with people monitoring this,” Michael said. “It comes to us in basically a spreadsheet and we’ll match them up with people who can accommodate them. We put those two people in contact and they can talk out everything from there.”
Michael says they are focusing on people who fled to Augusta and are not able to find any hotel rooms. He says several Athenians have already opened up their homes and they just want to get the word out to those in need of shelter.