Neighbors helping neighbors with Camden Red Cross getting first - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Neighbors helping neighbors with Camden Red Cross getting first time experience

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CAMDEN (KATV) - Most residents in Camden finally have their power back after nearly a full weekend without electricity due to the powerful storm that ripped through South Arkansas on Thursday night.  But devastation remains in town, the reason the American Red Cross and Salvation Army say they are staying put for now.

At the Red Cross command post set-up at Victory Church in Camden, relief crews were busy on Sunday packing meals up for a joint effort of handing out hot food and necessities.

Heavy rains on Sunday didn't make things better for those with severe damage to their homes.  Red Cross efforts suggest there are roughly 50 homes with severe damage, including Camden-Fairview High School.

One lady was gracious for the help the two relief organizations were providing, but mentioned there were people in greater need than herself. 

She said, "there's a young family with children – they need tarps for their house."  A man from the Red Cross said of course they had some tarps, the woman following up by saying how urgent the problem was – "it's pouring in their house."

For many the damage was too great to stay in their homes – with several homes split in two by trees and downed power lines still everywhere.

"The Red Cross has tried to help a number of them get rooms," said Betty Smith, volunteer with the Red Cross.  "We had to send some of them out of town to get rooms because we had no power."

But many of the first responders in Camden were also first time responders.  It was just in 2013 that Camden residents created their own Red Cross chapter – apparently just in the nick of time.

"We wasn't expecting a disaster for sure," remarked Smith.

Instead of watching training videos on how to respond to catastrophe, Camden's first responders are getting first hand experience.

"There have been so many comments about how well things are working out, how hard people are working, how good everybody has been, how attentive," recalled Smith.  "It's just brought us together in a way that we would have never thought."