Hurricane Isaac hit the Gulf Coast yesterday evening, with maximum sustained winds nearing 80 miles per hour. More than half a million customers were without power in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, according to the Entergy and Cleco power companies. Water has overtopped levees in Plaquemines Parish, a community southeast of New Orleans encompassing the first 70 miles of the Mississippi river, and officials fear "deep flooding" there.
All reports show that the people of Louisiana and Mississippi will be dealing with this very slow-moving storm for at least the next 24 hours. Relief organizations are mobilized and ready to respond with the State Emergency Management Teams.
Here's how you can help now
Visit Volunteer Louisiana for updates and to register for updates on volunteer needs and donation needs for recovery efforts for Hurricane Isaac. Also visit aidmatrixnetwork.org/fema and click on the State in which you wish to help.
Volunteer wisely to help others...
Before traveling to a disaster area to help, learn where and when your skills will be needed. Discuss with volunteer organizers how your needs for food, water and shelter will be met while you are volunteering..
When making donations...
Financial contributions are preferred.
- Cash donations help to avoid the labor and expense of sorting, packing, transporting and distributing donated goods.
- Voluntary relief agencies use cash to meet victims' specific needs more quickly.
- Purchasing relief supplied available in the impacted community helps the local economy to recover more quickly.
Confirm the need before collecting. Donors should be wary of anyone who claims that "everything is needed." Many groups have been disappointed that their efforts and the goods they collected were not appreciated. A community hit by a disaster, however, does not have the time, manpower or money to dispose of unneeded donations. Get precise information and confirm the need before collecting any donated goods.
- To prevent waste, donations of goods should be made only to agencies that have requested specific items.
- Coordination with a relief organization is essential to ensure that the right goods in the right amounts are collected, and that transportation, warehousing and distribution will go smoothly.