BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — Disaster relief efforts are already underway, as volunteers from Western New York head to Florida to help people affected by Hurricane Ian.

“The damage and the devastation is going to be pretty large,” said Andrew Loeb, a volunteer with the American Red Cross.

Loeb is one of the volunteers from Western New York who’s getting ready to help Floridians pick up the pieces. He plans on heading down in the next day or two.

“You don’t like bad things to happen to good people, so if you can help them, then why not,” he said.

The American Red Cross is currently helping more than 13,000 people seek shelter.

“The greatest need is housing, health and hunger,” said Nick Bond, the CEO for the WNY Region of the American Red Cross. “We need to be able to provide those immediate needs — finding a place for them to stay that’s safe.”

Bond said after that, it’s about helping people get back on their feet. They expect that to take months.

“I know, initially, we have four volunteers going, but that’s wave one; this is going to be a long term response,” Bond said. “This isn’t going to be a couple weeks and then we’re out of town. We’re looking at a few months of deployment of staff.”

Eight Days of Hope is preparing to help repair homes from flood and wind damage.

“Normally what we do, if it’s usually flooding or wind damage, we’ll be tarping roofs. We’ll be ripping out the inside of the house completely, which is hard on the people, it really is,” said Bruce McQueen, who’s been volunteering with the organization since 2017.

McQueen has helped in disaster relief efforts before — after Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. He plans to head to Florida next week.

“It’s a lot of work, and it’s heart-wrenching,” McQueen said. “We don’t rejoice in it at all, but we do rejoice in the fact that we’re able to bring hope to these communities and these families.”

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.