LAKELAND, Fla. – Packages of water, food and construction materials began pouring into Florida on Sunday as disaster-relief workers formed a "huge supply chain" to help rebuild communities shattered by Hurricane Charley (search).
Members of Florida's National Guard unloaded power generators, cots, blankets, hammers, nails and portable toilets from planes and trucks at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (search), then reloaded the shipments for delivery to devastated areas.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (search) Director Mike Brown said the "huge supply chain" was already in motion.
"It's a chain that we will keep feeding until we overfeed this beast," said Brown, who toured the airport with Gov. Jeb Bush on Sunday.
Charley slammed into the Gulf coast cities of Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda on Friday before moving through central Florida and Daytona Beach. Officials estimate the storm caused $11 billion in damage to insured homes alone. More than 1 million people remain without power and 2,400 are in shelters.
The Lakeland airport was chosen because it is about 50 miles southwest of Orlando and 80 miles north of Punta Gorda (search).
Help came in from other states as well.
Carolyn Norton and husband Dennis brought their two children from Atlanta as they delivered a flatbed truck full of generators. The couple works for a towing service in Marietta, Ga., and said they felt a need to help Charley's victims.
"It's terrible. I'm much in prayer for all of them," Carolyn Norton said. "I feel so bad for everybody, and I'm glad we could be a part of helping.
"As little as it sounds, bringing those things down here, I guess it's a whole lot," she said.