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'Cajun Navy' standing by for Hurricane Florence, could help reach flooded areas

The Cajun Navy group of volunteer boaters can reach areas that vehicles can't during a flood (footage provided).

As past storms have proven, first responders can’t always get to everyone right away.

But if there’s flooding, the Cajun Navy is usually nearby. The volunteer group of boaters is standing by to help with Hurricane Florence.

Jamie Hough is one of the members who was coordinating efforts from his Mount Pleasant home on Tuesday.

He said, so far, 50 people have signed up for Florence response.

“I’ve got folks putting together truckloads of stuff in the Keys right now to come up here and in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama,” Hough said. “We work in pairs, two people in a boat and two boats together, what’s called an approach boat and then you have a backup boat.”

Hough said members have their eyes on North Carolina from Elizabethtown to Lumberton, but they’re currently in a holding pattern trying to narrow down resources and places for crews to go.

“One of the main things and it’s kind of crass to say, but we try to help those who can’t help themselves, not so much people who won’t help themselves,” he said. “So, if you’ve been told to get out of your area, get out of your area.”

Last year, Hough drove his truck and boat to join others in Houston for Hurricane Harvey response. He said in four days, they rescued 180 people.

Despite a volunteer fleet that’s comprised mostly of licensed boat captains, efforts don’t always go smoothly.

“One of the issues I’m afraid we’re going to run into when we get to North Carolina is kind of red tape issues with local law enforcement,” said Hough. "It started out that way in Houston. The first couple of days and then all of a sudden, they realized there were thousands of people that they couldn’t get to, they weren’t ready to get to.”

Hough added that monetary donations help them with their mission, but said most of the volunteers end up spending their own money on fuel and accommodations.

For inquiries, questions or assistance, Hough said people can send him a direct message on Facebook here.

There are two ways to donate: Venmo @redfishmafia or Paypal at theredfishmafia@gmail.com

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