One week in, relief work has just begun in Hurricane Laura’s wake
The first week of emergency disaster operations after Hurricane Laura is ending, but the work is by no means finished: Hundreds of thousands of Louisiana and Texas residents are still homeless, hungry or without power.
Mobile feeding units of The Salvation Army are reaching more neighborhoods in the Lake Charles, Louisiana, area for the first time as workers clear roads of fallen trees, power lines and debris. Many residents are receiving their first hot meals since the Category 4 storm made landfall Aug. 26.
Melony Simon Bourque was beyond moved at the relief efforts.
“Y’all are a Godsend,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do.”
Melony and her family rode out the storm in a bathroom. After damage done by wind and trees, it was the only room of the house still not leaking. The Salvation Army gave her meals, cleaning supplies and food for her cats.
Volunteers and staff are laboring in difficult conditions, with the daily heat index topping out well above 100 degrees. And help continues to arrive: The Salvation Army announced a $500,000 gift from the Walmart Foundation to communities impacted by the storm; and the donation of 20 cases of apples, bananas and oranges out of the emergency stockpiles of CenterPoint Energy of Houston, Texas.
These were in addition to 60,000 pounds of high-quality meat from Omaha Steaks; truckloads of chicken and ice by Tyson Foods; and shelf-stable products from Goya Foods announced previously. The Salvation Army’s longtime disaster-aid partners Operation BBQ Relief and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief are sharing food preparation duties. Pilgrim’s Lufkin, a year-round partner of the Army in Texas’ Angelina County donated meal support in the city of Orange in Texas’ Golden Triangle. The Pilgrim’s team arrived in Orange Saturday morning with a three-day supply of chicken, sides and a custom barbecue pit and served more than 6,000 meals between Sunday and Monday. The team cooked, assembled and distributed the boxed meals in a drive-thru line.
Hurricane Laura struck the Gulf Coast with 150 mph winds, causing catastrophic damage in the Lake Charles area and widespread power outages in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas. Fifteen people died in the aftermath of the storm, and more than 300,000 were still without electricity, CNN reported.
As of late morning Thursday, Sept. 3, The Salvation Army was operating in 17 service locations in the Lake Charles area and seven sites in Texas.
Michelle Hartfield and Meagan Hofer contributed to this story.
- 96,539 meals
- 77,973 drinks
- 45,998 snacks
- 33 active mobile feeding units
- 6 support vehicles and emergency equipment
- 187 cleanup kits (per kit)
- 110 cleaning supplies / tools (per order)
- 708 comfort / hygiene kits (per kit)
- 109 food boxes (per box)
- 793 infant supplies (per order)
- 6 meals ready to eat (MREs) (per item)
- 33 pet supplies (per order)
- 180 water (per case)
- 51 water (per gallon)
- 124 disaster workers have given 7,736 hours of service
- Emotional and spiritual care to 1430 people