Jason Salsman/Multimedia Producer
100 Muscogee (Creek) citizens estimated to be in the area
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — As people in the Carolinas brace for the arrival of Hurricane Florence, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Emergency Response Team, comprised of Lighthorse Police and Emergency Management officials, stands at the ready to be called into action.
The storm, which Federal Emergency Management Agency Associate Administrator Jeff Byard told CNN, ‘is not going to be a glancing blow…this is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast,’ is a Category 3 with life-threatening winds expected late Thursday to early Friday.
Lighthorse Tribal Police Department Chief Robert Hawkins indicated that his team is ready and thankfully has experience.
“As everybody knows, we went down to Houston last year for the Harvey relief effort,” Hawkins said. “It was quite the experience for us. We learned from that, and when we’re called to the East Coast, we’re going to be better prepared, better equipped and have that know how.”
Hawkins said that the team will consist of 12 people from MCN, with 10 Lighthorse officers and two Emergency Management officials as well as the five other agencies that will make up FEMA’s Oklahoma Special Operations Team.
Hawkins said the North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper indicated in a press conference that one of the staging areas would be at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Due to the storm now changing directions however, he has no further information on where any other staging areas may be.
According to comments published by MCN Public Relations, Hawkins said ‘there’s just right over 100 of our (Muscogee) citizens that live out there. In fact, I believe that 95 of them live in North Carolina. We are still verifying our numbers with Citizenship.’
Hawkins said the MCN team would be taking both of its rescue boats, four ATVs, as well as cots and various supplies.
He said that FEMA will also provide cots, food, fuel for vehicles and boats and daily necessities for the team for the duration of their stay.
“From what I’m understanding, this could be a 10-12 day operation. It just depends on the extent of it,” Hawkins said. “From what we’re understanding it’s going to be a big thing.”