Hurricane Laura came ashore as a category four hurricane and is one of the strongest hurricanes ever to make landfall in Louisiana. Homes and businesses are destroyed, some areas are still unreachable, heavy debris are blocking roads, and hundreds of thousands of people remain without power and water. People are also facing heat advisories and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Some have seen their homes destroyed after being out of work for months due to COVID-19.
While the full extent of damage isn’t yet known, preliminary estimates indicate that thousands of homes could either be destroyed or have major damage across Louisiana and Texas.
The Red Cross is on the ground working closely with local officials and partners to mount a massive relief effort to provide help to those in need. Twelve volunteers from the Illinois region are among more than 1,300 trained disaster workers mobilized by the Red Cross to help people affected by Hurricane Laura in Texas and Louisiana. More local volunteers will continue to be deployed to assist those in need.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Brian McDaniel is deployed from the Illinois Region and will be available for interviews. He will be in Lake Charles, Louisiana this afternoon. Call Drew Brown: 309-339-5104 to coordinate.
B-ROLL AND PHOTOS
The media can access Red Cross b-roll of Hurricane Laura response efforts here. Click here for photos.
About 20,000 people are being provided a safe place to stay by various agencies in emergency lodgings, including shelters, and in some circumstances, hotels.
Red Cross workers are helping to replace prescription medications, eyeglasses and offer emotional support. In some instances, the Red Cross is supporting local shelters by providing cots, blankets, personal protective equipment and ready-to-eat meals. Our volunteers are also helping to support evacuees placed in hotel rooms. We are working with a variety of community groups to set up kitchens and partnerships to help provide tens of thousands of meals daily.
Our work is only beginning. We know that recovery from a devastating hurricane like this takes time. In the weeks ahead, we will continue to coordinate with community and government partners to assess the damage, address urgent needs and provide support to help survivors rebuild.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: You can make a difference in the lives of people impacted by Hurricane Laura. Visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS or text the word LAURA to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS RESPOND TO TWO HOME FIRES
In addition, our volunteers are busy responding to home fires in our area. This past week, our volunteer disaster responders assisted five adults and four children impacted by fires in Springfield and Taylorville. Sadly, the fire in Springfield resulted in the loss of life.
The Red Cross is providing individuals with temporary housing, health and mental health services and information about recovery services.
If you need assistance, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747. You can take two easy steps to protect your home and loved ones from a fire: get a smoke alarm and create a fire escape plan. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
About the American Red Cross of Illinois
The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri including Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cook, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Green, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson Winnebago, Woodford. Iowa: Lee, Muscatine, Scott and Van Buren. Missouri: Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at Redcross.org/Illinois or visit us on Twitter @RedCrossIL.