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Nearly 100 Dorian evacuees now at Macon shelter. More local shelters may open

Nearly 80 Dorian evacuees take shelter in Macon recreation center

As of midday on Tuesday, 71 people had checked into a Hurricane Dorian emergency shelter in Macon. The evacuees, many from Glynn and Liberty counties, were housed at the South Bibb Recreation Center.
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As of midday on Tuesday, 71 people had checked into a Hurricane Dorian emergency shelter in Macon. The evacuees, many from Glynn and Liberty counties, were housed at the South Bibb Recreation Center.

Nearly 100 evacuees from Georgia’s coast have settled in at an American Red Cross emergency shelter in south Macon after many began arriving Monday to escape the likely path of slow-churning Hurricane Dorian.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, the shelter inside the South Bibb Recreation Center at 7035 Houston Road just south of Sardis Church Road was housing upward of 90 displaced residents, many from Glynn and Liberty counties in southeast Georgia.

Roughly a third of those at the shelter were described as people with medical needs and they were brought in by bus. Others traveled on their own, said shelter manager Stephen Pollitt.

“It’s actually been very well-organized,” Pollitt said. “Things have gone very smoothly so far. It does get hectic, especially when you have a bunch of people coming in.”

He expects “quite a few more people” here in the coming days. Pollitt said there are plans to open other shelters at Macon recreation centers if the need arises.

Irma Deal, 75, who along with her rat terrier, Missy, evacuated from Brunswick, said traveling inland to escape Dorian’s potential wrath was not much of an inconvenience.

“I was raised in Savannah,” Deal, a retired frozen-seafood factory worker, said, “so I’m kind of used to the storms. ... They’re really taking care of us.”

Meanwhile, United Way of Central Georgia said its 2-1-1 Contact Center will continue to operate 24-hours a day, 7 days a week during Hurricane Dorian.

Evacuees can call 2-1-1 or text DorianGA to 898-211 to access information on food, shelter, and emergency relief services available in our area, according to a news release.

“We are deeply concerned about our neighbors fleeing the storm destined for the East Coast,” said George McCanless, President and CEO of United Way of Central Georgia. “Before, during, and after the storm, our 2-1-1 Contact Center is here to help our communities recover and rebuild. We want to spread the word, so people know, they can make a free call or text to get the help they need.”

Tuesday afternoon, Monroe County volunteers gathered at the Forsyth Fire Department to put together supply bags filled with water, tourism information and personal hygiene items for evacuees staying at local hotel rooms.

Forsyth Mayor Eric Wilson said the city has organized similar drives for the past four or five hurricanes that affected the southeast.

Earlier that day while delivering bags, Wilson said an evacuee from Bluffton, South Carolina, told him it was the hospitality of the community that brought him back after evacuating to the city during Hurricane Matthew.

“We know their minds are worried about what’s going on back home, but we just want them to feel some hospitality while they’re here visiting with us in Forsyth,” Wilson said.

Forsyth Mayor Eric Wilson talks about the hospitality the city shows for Hurricane Dorian evacuees at an event where volunteers created care packages to be handed out at local hotels and campgrounds.

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Joe Kovac Jr. covers crime and courts for The Telegraph with an eye for human-interest stories. A Warner Robins native, he joined the paper in 1991 after graduating from the University of Georgia.
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