As people in Louisiana head into week three of unimaginable devastation after floodwaters inundated parts of the state, the American Red Cross remains by their side. Disaster workers are providing shelter, food, relief supplies and comfort for thousands of Louisianans during this trying time. Across the country, disaster teams are also preparing for severe weather events that could impact multiple regions, including the Gulf Coast, Hawaii and Carolinas, this week. This is a very busy time of year with the Labor Day holiday weekend approaching. Please take special note to stay abreast of the latest weather bulletins and updates and also not forget that there remains thousands just beginning to put their lives back together again. Thanks to all of you that have stepped up to help folks in Louisiana. Disasters seem almost non-stop these days. Without all of you the American Red Cross could not respond as it does to disasters big and small.

Louisiana Flooding: Disaster Update and Red Cross Response

Yesterday, August 29, marked the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As Louisianans and Americans commemorate the lives lost and lives changed from the catastrophic impacts of the 2005 storm, many are picking up the pieces from severe floodwaters that inundated the state on August 11. This year’s un-named, slow-moving, low-pressure storm system brought more than two feet of rain on parts of Louisiana and damaged an estimated 154,000 homes. There remains 13 Red Cross and community relief shelters open providing 1,500 overnight stays for impacted individuals that are still unable to return to their flood-ravaged homes.

The Red Cross has been on the ground in Louisiana since the flooding began, and will remain within impacted regions in the weeks and months ahead to help residents on the long road to recovery. To date, more than 2,900 Red Cross volunteers and staff have supported relief efforts, by operating shelters, serving meals, distributing relief supplies and providing emotional support during this difficult time. Nuhi Hazero, a volunteer currently assisting relief operations in Louisiana, share’s his reason for joining the Red Cross and his experience in Louisiana in this moving video.

In addition to sheltering, Red Cross disaster teams are circulating impacted neighborhoods to distribute meals, snacks, water and relief supplies, such as insect repellant, cleaning kits and bleach, to people at their homes. Disaster mental health and health services volunteers are providing emotional support and helping to replace things like lost eyeglasses, wheelchairs and medications. More than 90 response vehicles are fanning through affected neighborhoods.

Since the flooding began, together with local, state and national partners, the Red Cross has:

  • Provided more than 57,000 overnight shelter stays;
  • Distributed more than 305,000 relief items;
  • Served more than 611,000 meals and snacks; and
  • Handled more than 27,000 calls from people seeking information and help.

Large disasters like this flooding create more needs than any one organization can meet, and the Red Cross is working closely with the entire response community to coordinate relief efforts and deliver help quickly and efficiently, keeping in mind the diverse needs of the community. Some of these partners include Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, the NAACP, Islamic Relief USA, Church of the Brethren Children’s Disaster Services, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, Verizon, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Americares, Jet Blue, Operation HOPE, Legal Services Corporation, and the Reliant Energy Power2Serve response team among others. The Red Cross will continue working closely with partners in the days ahead to ensure people receive the help they need as quickly as possible.

Louisiana’s devastating flooding has uprooted lives, destroyed homes and left thousands with nothing but the few items they were able to escape with. The Red Cross will remain in impacted communities in the weeks and months to come to provide help and the resources residents need to return to a sense of normalcy.

Severe Weather Outlook

hurricaneMultiple tropical systems are churning in the Atlantic and Pacific, with several expected to impact parts of the U.S. as early as today. The Red Cross, like always, is busy preparing to support potentially impacted areas and working in close coordination with partners to monitor and plan for storm landfall(s).

In the Atlantic, we expect Tropical Depression Eight to impact the Outer Banks of North Carolina with heavy rain over the next 24 hours. In addition, later this week we expect Tropical Depression Nine to bring more heavy rain to the Big Bend region of Florida and proceed up through parts of Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas. Hurricane Gaston is expected to continue moving on an eastward trajectory and not impact the U.S. Last, the Red Cross is monitoring a potentially bad weather formation up on the West African coast right now, which could significantly impact U.S. interests next week.