In most of St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, the flood waters have receded and people are starting the long clean up and recovery process. But in some sections of the parish, whole neighborhoods remain underwater.
On a trip to rural St Martin Parish we met local Red Cross volunteers Hope Key and her mom Suzzanne in an area called Cypress Island, where many roads are impassable and homes in more rural areas are only accessible by boat.
Our Red Cross crew arrived in a truck filled with ready-to-eat meals, water, snacks and other supplies. We could see the water from where we stood and immediately started handing out supplies to residents standing on the road looking at their flooded yards and homes, wondering when they would be able to return, recover, rebuild and get back to their new normal.
In situations like this, the safety of our volunteers and the communities we serve is our top priority. Reaching the homes isolated by the flood waters would have to be done by local first responders, one of our vital partners in disaster response. These public servants have been protecting the residents, doing wellness checks by boat, and bringing supplies to those who cannot leave their homes.
Terry Guidry, Director of the Office of Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness for St. Martin Parish willingly accepted the supplies we had in the truck. As we unloaded into a warehouse he explained to us that they would take the meals, water and supplies to residents by boat and distribute them to those in need. We felt relief partnering with Terry’s team, who would get these relief items to the people we could not reach by vehicle.
It’s through coordination and cooperation like this that the Red Cross can safely provide assistance to those affected by disaster.