Hundreds of thousands of people are still without power and running water in parts of Louisiana and Texas that were hit hardest by Hurricane Laura last week.
Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane around 1 a.m. on August 27 about 35 miles east of the Texas/Louisiana border, leaving miles of destruction from gusting winds and tornadoes. The storm underwent one of the fastest and strongest intensifications in Gulf history – quickly ratcheting up to wind speeds of 150 mph – before hitting the Bayou State.
Samaritan’s Purse, which is responding to the great need in three southwest Louisiana locations – Lake Charles, Jennings, and DeRidder – is among the relief organizations with volunteers on the ground to help families recover from the storm – one of the hardest to hit Louisiana’s coast since Hurricane Katrina made landfall 15 years ago.
“Louisiana families are struggling after Hurricane Laura caused severe damage to homes,” said Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse, in a press release shortly after the storm made landfall. “Please continue to pray for everyone in the storm’s path and our teams as they prepare to provide critical relief to people who are hurting.”
Also on the ground is Operation Blessing, which sent its U.S. Disaster Relief Team to Louisiana to help with cleanup and to provide assistance and relief for victims; the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, which sent chaplains to affected areas to provide spiritual support to homeowners; and Somebody Cares America, which has been providing emergency assistance, hot meals, and other resources.
According to Somebody Cares, immediate needs include:
- Water (power is out so water pumps are not working)
- Non-perishable food items
- Large trash bags/contractor bags
- Hygiene kits
- Cleaning kits
- Roofing nails & felt
- 5-gallon gas cans
- Portable phone chargers (charged and ready to use)
- 18 inch or larger chainsaws & blades
- Bug spray
- Financial donations to cover costs for transporting donated materials and purchasing gift cards to assist residents
“We know everyone is stretched and challenged right now, be it financially, emotionally, or spiritually,” said Doug Stringer, Founder of Somebody Cares, in a report. “But for those who are able to help, your gift today will help us be better positioned to help the most people possible and as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, Food For the Poor (FFTP) has been responding to the urgent need for aid in Haiti and the Dominican Republic by airfreighting two disaster relief kits to the Caribbean nations to help families recovering from extensive flooding caused by Laura.
Each disaster kit contains essential items such as food, blankets, tarps, portable stoves, cleaning supplies, and bandages.
The charity has also sent 10 tractor-trailer loads of relief items — six to the FFTP-Haiti warehouse in Port-au-Prince and four to the D.R., where partners Fundacion Cruz Jiminian and the Order of Malta will oversee distribution.
“The images of devastation caused by the torrential rainfall and landslides are horrifying,” said FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine in a press release. “We’re grateful for our generous donors and partners who are allowing us to respond immediately and come to the aid of these families, many of whom were already struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Buckner International, which has staff in the Dominican Republic, reported last week that most of the storm damage had hit the island opposite of where the ministry has operations.
Moreover, Buckner-affiliated staff, children, families, and senior adults in the Beaumont, Texas, area had to be evacuated after county officials issued a mandatory order to the more than 250,000 residents across most of Southeast Texas in anticipation of Hurricane Laura making landfall.
Buckner President and CEO Albert Reyes said evacuating people during the coronavirus pandemic posed additional hurdles, “but our team was well prepared from past hurricanes and the work we have done the past six months mitigating risks from the pandemic. I’m proud of our teams’ response and would ask for prayers this week for Buckner and for everyone affected by these storms.”
To provide urgent relief to the most vulnerable impacted by Hurricane Laura, please consider supporting the relief efforts of one or more of the NRB member organizations listed below. Homeowners in Louisiana affected by Hurricane Laura can also contact Samaritan’s Purse and its church partners for assistance here.