Evacuees come to Tennessee in escape of Hurricane Matthew


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Charleston, South Carolina is shaping up to be one of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Matthew, and some evacuees have decided to come as far as Knoxville for relief.

“It’s a lot of moving and we need to leave one hotel and move to another one,” Jasmine King, 11, said.

King traveled to East Tennessee with her family, after Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc on her hometown of Charleston, where she lives five minutes from the beach. Her family followed state leaders’ evacuation orders and left the vulnerable area, spending each night in a different hotel room. Her big sister Christina, 15, said it’s been an emotional couple of days.

“Every morning we get up early and we have to stress where we have to sleep at night,” Smith said.

Father of three Alex Capers said he does not know if he will have a home to return to and has to wear a brave face to keep his family calm.

“It’s a stressful situation for everyone,” Capers said. “It tested our patience. Everyone’s stressed from the situation without knowing where we’re going to go  and everyone’s in a state of frustration and panic, so I tried to keep things as calm as I could but it’s hard.”

The family said they have been checking in with friends and family back home who decided to ride out the storm, that has been downgraded to a category 1 hurricane.

Neighbors tell stories of flooding roads, downed trees and 80 mile per hour winds.

“I tried to warn people to get out while they could because it was going to be bad,” Christina Smith said.

And though the condition of their home and belongings is still unknown, Jasmine finds comfort in knowing she has her family by her side during this difficult time.

“I’m happy that we’ve stuck together,” King said, pausing, “that we’re still together.”

The Red Cross of East Tennessee deployed 55 people and eight emergency response vehicles to assist in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Representatives of the Red Cross said there is currently one shelter available for Hurricane Matthew’s evacuees and it is in Gray, Tenn.

For those seeking immediate shelter in Knoxville, they are urged to call the Knoxville office of the Red Cross at 865-584-2999 and select extension one.

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