Sixteen years to the day after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, Hurricane Ida made landfall.
With wind speeds of 150 mph and life-threatening flash flooding, Hurricane Ida is wreaking havoc on the Louisiana Gulf Coast and is expected to severely impact Mississippi and other gulf states.
With predicted long-term electricity blackouts and shortages of water and food comparable to Katrina, this category four storm will also most likely lead to widespread needs for emergency shelters, hygiene items and sustenance as survivors emerge from the wreckage.
In anticipation of these needs, Send Relief sent tens of thousands of meals, work gloves and suits, N-95 masks and rolled tarping, along with flood and chainsaw recovery resources to the region before the storm hit. Additionally, Send Relief teams are now focusing resources on transporting thousands more emergency rations, pallets of water and supplies for temporary shelters to Mississippi and Louisiana as clean-up efforts begin early this week.
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Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) teams have begun sheltering as close as possible to the impact zone and will be responding with mobile kitchens and shower units, chainsaw teams, flood recovery teams and chaplain teams, to help families affected by this disaster.
Send Relief’s Crisis Response Director Coy Web commented, “We anticipate this could be a lengthy response and remain thankful for the volunteers from across the Southern Baptist Convention who serve faithfully through SBDR to bring help, healing and hope when devastating disasters impact lives. We encourage all to pray for the thousands impacted on the Gulf Coast and to join us in bringing help by giving to Send Relief and SBDR state conventions.”
Send Relief is also providing nearly 200,000 meals for SBDR volunteers to prepare at their feeding sites during the first crucial days of this response—these meals will be critical in the initial aftermath, as they may be the only early meals available for surviving families. These “gap meals” were made possible through a new SBDR and Send Relief program that seeks to ensure all state relief partners have the supplies needed to meet needs after a disaster occurs.
Vice President of Send Relief, Josh Benton explained, “Over the last year, in partnership with SBDR, we have established a gap feeding program in which Send Relief has strategically located meals all around the country. During a disaster, the ready-to-make meals are delivered to SBDR kitchen crews, allowing cooking and food distribution to the impacted communities to start as soon as kitchen teams arrive and are operational. Send Relief’s goal is to help our partners serve the people who need it most, as quickly as possible in the time of disaster. The gap feeding program is a great example of collaboration and kingdom focus between Send Relief and SBDR.”
As SBDR and Send Relief teams continue to respond to the overwhelming needs emerging from Hurricane Ida, you can give towards relief projects that will help survivors heal and gain access to emergency resources like food, water and temporary shelter. Please be in prayer for those living in the path of Hurricane Ida, families who are forced to evacuate and disaster relief teams responding to this emergency.