Mounting woes for survivors of Hurricane Michael

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Thousands of Hurricane Michael victims are currently living in dismal conditions, sleeping on cots in shelters with nothing but the clothes on their backs that they've been wearing for a week now.

Just after returning home from the Carolinas, Arizona volunteer Karen Willis flew to Florida to help in the aftermath of Michael. She's been there about a week now, working at a shelter in Marianna, Florida, about 70 miles north of Mexico Beach, where Michael made landfall as a Category 4 storm.

More than 400 homeless evacuees and a couple dozen volunteers have nowhere to go, but a high school campus has been turned into a shelter.

"We have them staged in Marianna High School," said Willis, in a phone interview. "They're all in the hallways and cots. We have a gym. That's for dormitory."

The school was originally built in 1926, and it was renovated and designed to withstand a category 5 hurricane in 2005. Willis says the situation is dire, as there are about 420 evacuees with nowhere to go. They are coping with loss, heat, and humidity.

"We've been without a shower for over a week now. All these people are wanting to get clean. We're taking baths in the sinks. It's pretty bad," said Willis, who hopes emergency agencies will send a shower trailer and a laundry room to the shelter.

Meanwhile, FEMA representatives are signing families up to receive emergency aid, and evacuees are now waiting for FEMA vouchers to buy clothes and pay for housing.

"Theyre going home and realizing they can't stay there, and they come back," said Willis. "I would say about 80% of them have nothing. There are some ruffled feathers somewhat. They don't feel like they're getting services fast enough from the government. It does take time. Their patience is very low."

Willis said her shelter is in dire need of volunteers, clothes, baby supplies, and baby wipes. She says they have plenty of food and water. Red Cross officials say, those who'd like to help are urged to donate money. because they say it's difficult to send physical items and supplies to the disaster area. Cash allows the Red Cross to purchase necessary items for specific shelters.