The Disaster Relief Center at Orlando International Airport has helped more than 14,000 evacuees from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands during its first three weeks of operation.
The 26 social service organizations at the temporary center have offered job information, school enrollment, temporary housing information, health support, counseling, computer and phone access, driver’s license and identification services.
The center was set up Oct. 3 in the main terminal to help people fleeing the devastation from Hurricane Maria. Islanders were left without power, food, water and public services. Many evacuated to Orlando.
The center was set up “in coordination with Orange County, the City of Orlando and the state’s Department of Emergency Management to address the immediate needs of those citizens evacuating from the U.S. territories impacted by Hurricane Maria,” said Phil Brown CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
Since opening, the center has expanded to facilitate the nearly 1,000 people arriving daily. When passengers arrive in the terminal, signs and personnel direct them to the first level on the A side of the main terminal where the center is located.
“In times of crisis, it takes a coordinated effort to provide vital and basic assistance to those in need,” said Frank Kruppenbacher, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority chairman.
Due to the continuing arrival of evacuees, the Relief Center will remain open at OIA until the state establishes more long-term accommodations.