Rescuer Says Hurricane Damage Like ‘Third World Country War Zone’

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A member of the rescue group Cajun Navy, walking CNN through some of the devastation from Hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida, said the area looked like a “Third World country war zone.”

“The only way I can explain it through my eyeballs is a Third World country war zone,” Jason Gunderson said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day.” “It’s beyond recognition and of being repaired.”

“There’s telephone poles down,” Gunderson said. “Every single telephone pole is snapped in half—power lines on the ground, live power lines. Flooded waters, trees twisted around, buildings folded in half, no roofs—it’s a very surreal situation.”

The Cajun Navy started as a group of people with privately owned boats who volunteered to save victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The group was resurrected in 2016 after flooding in Louisiana and again in 2017 for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“To say the least, I’m honored to be out here to help and with the group that I have,” Gunderson said.

He said he and his team have faced “horrific situations” where they had to rescue senior citizens, whose homes had collapsed and covered them in rubble.

“As of right now, the guys and I are in the mobile command unit, which is an ambulance. And we have been going around on phone calls coming in from our commanding officers to rescue at some addresses and we’ve been coming up to some pretty horrific situations,” Gunderson said.

“We rescued an elderly lady earlier, a roof ripped off and had to cut the trees just to get the vehicle down the road. There’s no power anywhere,” he said, adding:

We get inside the home and the lady is in a pretzel position underneath a bunch of rubble. About a 250-pound elderly lady and where she was at, if you look above her head there was no roof. And all you could see is the stars and the trees mashed in on top of her. Pulling her out, we had to rip a door off the wall and use it as a gurney and take her out of the house with it. She was all busted up, bloodied from head to toe.

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