Yesterday, Louisiana National Guard reported that more than 3,880 guardsmen are still engaged in flood response efforts, including rescues, evacuations, security patrols, engineering missions, and commodities distribution.
To date, the Louisiana National Guard (LANG) has rescued over 19,040 citizens and 2,660 pets. The LANG has issued more than 76,930 ready meals; 389,015 bottles of water; 465 tarps; and 961,500 sandbags. The LANG also issued over 2,200 cots and 1,700 blankets for shelter support.
Over the course of these operations, Louisiana Guardsmen have supported local, state, and federal agencies with more than 280 high-water vehicles, 55 boats, 11 Bridge Erection Boats, and 9 helicopters.
Returning to a Flooded Home
Louisiana officials are now concerned that thousands of families have to return to a flood damaged home, which poses numerous potential dangers including unstable structures, electrocution, escaped gas, contaminated flood waters and stray wild animals.
Not only that, but householders now face a huge clean up task, segregating debris and waste and cleaning contaminated areas in an attempt to avoid mold infestation. People will also need to document losses for insurance or FEMA claims.
The Mermentau River at Mermentau is still at major flood stage, with levels standing at 10.82 feet. Levels aren’t expected to drop below the major flood stage (8 feet ) until 23 August.
The Vermilion River at Lafayette, Surrey Street, is at 17.19 feet, also above major flood stage of 16 feet and is expected to remain at or above major flood stage until 22 August.
At Lake Martin Road, the Vermilion is at 14.88 feet, still above major flood stage of 14 feet and showing no signs of falling.
Levels of the Amite River have fallen in most areas, but remain at moderate flood stage at 4 locations: Highway 22 near Maurepas, French Settlement, Port Vincent and Bayou Manchac Point. The river is currently showing a falling trend in all 4 locations.
The Louisiana Governor said that he believes the lack of media attention has led to fewer donations for flood victims via organisations such as the Red Cross.
Mainstream media began reporting the disaster several days after the floods first hit. Even then, many stories focused on stray alligators, floating caskets or an anti-gay pastor, rather than the plight of the thousands of people who have seen their homes damaged or destroyed.
Overview of the Louisiana Flood Situation
More than 30,000 people have been rescued from homes or vehicles
Currently 4,000 people are currently staying in shelters (down from 11,000)
13 flood related deaths have been confirmed
An estimated 40,000 houses have been damaged by the floods
86,500 have registered for federal disaster assistance
At one point, over 200 roads wer closed
1,400 bridges need to be inspected before they are reopened to traffic
River levels have broken records in at least 11 different locations
Levels of the Amite River at Magnolia reached almost 7 feet (2.13 metres) higher than previous record
At least 20 locations in Louisiana recorded more than 1 foot (300 mm) of rain in 72 hours
Louisiana was hit by 6.9 trillion gallons of rain – enough to fill 10.4 million Olympic pools
Where to Donate
People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recovery from these disasters.
A comprehensive list of where to donate can be found at the website of New Orleans news organisation, NOLA, here.
Volunteer to Help
If you are interested in volunteering to help, officials suggest visiting these websites to find out where help is needed: