Hurricane Laura, the first major hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season, has recently caused destruction in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and the United States. The storm reached its peak intensity on August 27, when it made landfall in Louisiana. Seven tropical storms have made landfall in the United States this season, which sets a new record for the number of storms that have done so before the end of August. Together, we can channel our kindness into making a difference for those affected by Hurricane Laura.
Hurricane Laura’s Impact:
- Hurricane Laura was a Category 4 Atlantic hurricane.
- The storm is responsible for several casualties, including 31 deaths in Haiti, four in the Dominican Republic, and 22 deaths in the United States.
- More than 260,000 people were ordered to evacuate in Cuba, 385,000 people were ordered to evacuate in Texas, and 200,000 people were ordered to evacuate in Louisiana.
- Around 200,000 people in Louisiana and Texas have been left without drinking water, and over a million people have lost power. Restoring water and power could take weeks or even months.
Resources for Those Affected:
- If you are in need of shelter, you can text “SHELTER” and your zip code to 43362, or use the shelter map on FEMA’s app.
- You can learn about FEMA’s Hurricane Laura lifelines here.
- The Department of Homeland Security has put together a list of steps to take to remain safe while returning home.
- The Center for Disease Control has specific safety information about hurricanes and COVID-19.
- You can find local resources for Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas here.
- KALB in Louisiana is keeping an updated list of community resources and safety information here.
- If you are experiencing emotional distress, are in crisis, or need someone to talk to, you can reach out to IMAlive to chat with a trained crisis intervention volunteer.
How to Help:
- Check on friends and family who may have been directly impacted. It is also a good idea to check on those who have had traumatic experiences in past natural disasters, since the news may be bringing back painful memories.
- Be there to listen to those who are affected, and ask them what you can do to support and comfort them. Focus on creating a safe space for expression and recovery for those who are hurting.
- Donate blood if you are able to. Even if you do not live in or near an affected area, your donation can help hospitals to treat other patients who are in need of blood transfusions near you.
- Make a monetary donation if you are in a position to do so. You can find reputable organizations through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in a Disaster (NVOAD) website. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has a fundraiser specifically for animal rescue and relief efforts.
- Be patient, be gentle, and be kind. These may seem like simple tasks, but they make a huge difference to everyone you interact with.