Photo from MG Miller Facebook post
Photo from Jeffrey Major Facebook post
My Facebook page has been full of tragic photos, so I asked Louisiana commenter jacy if she could put together information on donations and general information.
Photo from MG Miller Facebook post
While the news is preoccupied with Hillary’s emails and Donald Trump’s racist world salad of the day, Louisiana is drowning. I’m here in the middle of it, and I’m telling you that this is a genuine, epic disaster that is still unfolding. It’s hard to describe the scope of it, but here are some numbers:
11 confirmed dead.
40,000 homes destroyed
30,000 people rescued by boat, helicopter, and high water vehicle
20 parishes (that’s a county if you’re not in Louisiana) have been so far declared federal disaster areas.
Denham Springs (pop. 10,000) 90% underwater. More towns, large and small, devastated.
There are more than 20,000 people in shelters across the area. (That doesn’t count people who have been displaced and have been taken in by friends, relatives, strangers with an extra cot, or are staying in hotels)
Uncounted business, large and small, completely flooded or damaged enough that it will be weeks before they reopen.
4 days of closed Interstates, so no movement of supplies or people in or out of the area.
30 feet above flood stage for the Amite and Comite Rivers, which has no historical precedent. Some of the rivers will not crest until Wednesday. Smaller tributaries won’t crest until the coming weekend.
The Baton Rouge metro area is home to 830,000 people – and it has been brought to a standstill.
Tens of thousands of displaced critters – the Lamar Dixon Expo Center, which has a giant livestock barn, is full to the seams with dogs and cats and other animals plucked from the flood waters, stacked in kennels awaiting a reunion with their owners.
I’ve heard it said that the this hasn’t come to the forefront of the national consciousness because it was a storm that didn’t have a name. No hurricane, not even a tropical storm. But in many ways the fact that it wasn’t a recognized storm system increased the scope of the disaster. You see, it was just some rain. But it didn’t stop. It didn’t stop for days, just sat over Southern Louisiana and inundated it. Nobody was prepared. Nobody saw it coming. They’re calling it a once-in-a-thousand-years event. And because it’s flooding places that have NEVER flooded, a lot of people didn’t have flood insurance.
And on the national news, the few minutes dedicated to it almost make it seem like a passing human interest story. Charming little stories of the “Cajun Navy” out in their bateaux, paddling up and down what used to be neat residential streets and plucking people and pets out of the water. What you don’t know is that these people, and a lot of the first responders, are out there with little or no sleep, without eating or stopping, because their homes are already lost and they don’t have any place to go back to. So they just keep going forward, ferrying more lost people and animals to the nearest patch of dry land.
It’s overwhelming. If you want to help, there are a couple things you can do. First of all, spread the story. This is a major disaster – close to a Katrina-level disaster. (And I lived through Katrina too, so I have a reference point.) If you are anywhere close, volunteer. If you want to donate, the Red Cross is one way.
- If you want to find a way to volunteer or donate visit http://volunteerlouisiana.gov/
- Second Harvest Food Bank does good work: https://give.no-hunger.org/checkout/donation?eid=91189
- This happened just as school was about to start and many classrooms were destroyed or damaged. I have several friends who belong to the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, and they have a disaster relief fund here to help teachers throughout the area replace their supplies: https://apel.site-ym.com/donations/donate.asp?id=14775
- The Denham Springs Animal Shelter is the only municipal no-kill shelter in the area. Their facilities were totally destroyed, and it was only through the efforts of their staff that they got the animals out as the floodwaters were rushing in. They have a Go Fund Me page here: https://www.gofundme.com/2jdh3xg4 (You can also visit the website of Louisiana SPCA for more suggestions on how to help other critters throughout the area.)
I was very fortunate to be located in one of the few areas in Baton Rouge that did not flood at all, but there are tens of thousands of people who are devastated. The extent of the loss of life, loss of property, damage, and destruction won’t be clear for a week or more, when the flooding stops and the waters recede. Keep the people of Southern Louisiana in your thoughts.
Devastating photos, if you click on the photo links you should be able to see many more without a FB account. Meanwhile An Inconvenient Truth is streaming on both HULU and Netflix. But hey, Al Gore is fat, so it doesn’t matter, right?