Army relief units on the scene after Laura ravages Louisiana, Texas
Hundreds of thousands of residents of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas were without power after Hurricane Laura swept through the region Thursday, packing winds as high as 150 mph and causing at least 16 deaths. Salvation Army disaster relief teams deployed in communities across the area, serving hot meals, snacks, water and other beverages, as well as providing needed supplies and emotional and spiritual care.
Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane and devastated Lake Charles, Louisiana, damaging homes, businesses, powerlines and trees and leaving many without water and power amid temperatures reaching into the 90s. It is estimated that restoration of power and services may take four weeks or more.
In Lake Charles and the surrounding area, nine feeding units were deployed and were supported by the seven from Texas. Captain Trey Jones, Coastal Alabama area commander, was assigned as the incident commander for Lake Charles. As of Sunday, the relief units from the ALM Division reported that they had provided 18,049 meals and 17,767 drinks.
The hurricane was quickly downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall but still impacted southeast Texas and causing the evacuation of thousands of residents. Affected counties included Orange, Jefferson, Hardin, Sabine, Newton, Jasper and Shelby. Power outages were widespread, but restoration of service was anticipated by the end of the weekend, although some areas were expected to be without power for several days.
The Texas Division activated an incident management team at the Army’s Beaumont warehouse and collaborated with a Southern Baptist Convention Kitchen, which will provide 5,000 meals a day for residents in Louisiana and Texas. The division dispatched seven feeding units to support the relief operation in Louisiana and assigned nine for service in Texas. As of Monday, 40,527 meals had been served in Texas and Louisiana, and emotional and spiritual care had been given to 372 people. Alvin Migues, the Texas disaster services director, is the incident commander for the effort in that division.
The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts are best supported through monetary donations, which may be made at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For additional information on the relief effort, see www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.