The clean-up and recovery from Isaac continue and the destruction left behind affects lives along the Gulf Coast with many people remaining in shelters and others facing power outages and flooding in their neighborhoods.
The Red Cross is helping people now, and will be there for weeks to come, providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to those affected by the devastating storm.
In Louisiana, some areas remain under evacuation orders with thousands of people still without power and some may not see their electricity restored for several weeks. Approximately 526 people spent Wednesday night in shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi. More than 2,000 Red Cross disaster workers are in the area, and emergency vehicles are traveling through the affected neighborhoods, distributing meals and relief supplies. The Red Cross is working with the Southern Baptist Convention to prepare and distribute meals to those in need and has already served more than 404,000 meals and snacks.
The relief response along the Gulf Coast will cost millions of dollars and the Red Cross needs the public’s help now. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Behind each of these numbers are families and individuals doing what they can in the aftermath of the storm.
TERRIFYING TIME FOR FAMILY Shawanda McGee and her children are taking refuge from Isaac’s destruction in a Red Cross shelter in LaPlace, Louisiana which features assistance for people with impairments. Shawanda who communicates through sign language, shared that she and her three frightened children, Trevyna, Jamesica and James, hunkered down in their home as Isaac made landfall, watching as the storm broke windows and tore a hole in the roof.
After the storm passed, they tried to clean up but the job was overwhelming. Debris was everywhere, their clothing and carpets soaked, and their food rotting. Shawanda urged her children to eat but none of them could keep down their meals. There was no electricity and no water. With the children, she waded through floodwaters to the grocery store, looking for food, but the stores were either closed or empty.
As they searched for food, they could smell barbecue. Believing a restaurant might be open, they followed the smell, which was coming from a private residence. Dismayed, frustrated, hot and tired, Shawanda and her children turned away, but the people hollered for them to bring the children and invited them to join them. Shawanda began to cry as she signed this part of the story, but then burst into a huge smile, wiping away her tears as she finished her sentence with thanking this wonderful family that gave them food.
After eating, they continued and saw a large bus that was taking people to a Red Cross Shelter. With little time, they went home, quickly gathered wet clothing into a large plastic trash bag, and took the bus to the shelter. The wet clothes are the only belongings they now possess.
Shawanda said the children have made new friends at the shelter, have food to eat and toys to play with. She was so grateful to have a shower, wash her face and her hair and have a place to get some sleep. She is very grateful to the Red Cross for assisting her during her chaos and turmoil.
PADDLING IN FOR FOOD In Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, ten-year-old Dalton Miller and his cousin, Justine Gauthe, 11, have been coming to the Red Cross emergency response vehicle twice a day to take food and water home to their families. Ten family members have gathered in the one home that didn’t flood, and have no power or water. The youngsters said they are grateful to have food to eat, but are sad that their first day of school is postponed.
FATHER AND SON In LaPlace, Louisiana, 87-year-old George Moore and his son, Joe, 57, a retired Marine and police officer are going through a lifetime of soaked belongings. The elder Moore has seen much devastation and destruction in his 87 years, yet offers a smile of support and a salute to each neighbor as they drive by. “I have survived everything, hurricanes, typhoons and serving in the military during WWII. Red Cross was there for me in 1945 and they are here for me today,” he says with an indomitable spirit.
“We have never had water like this,” his son said. “Not even during Katrina. I didn’t know what was happening. Water was coming from everywhere and it was so fast I thought it was coming from fire-hydrant. We had to be rescued by our neighbor by a boat when the water was chest deep.”
“This is hard,” the police officer says, tearing up as he looks at their water-soaked belongings.
Watch the video of Nicolas Valdez' Story, Hurricane Issac 2012.