Southern Louisiana Still Struggles to Recover Following Devastating August Floods
More than one month after the once-in-every-1,000-years flood in Southern Louisiana, many areas of Baton Rouge remain submerged in water or deeply devastated. Although many areas of the state are aware of flooding dangers, many affected areas of the August flood were not prepared.
Within just one week, the areas saw 6.9 trillion gallons of rainfall — enough to fill 10.4 million Olympic swimming pools. In Watson, LA, 31.39 inches of water flooded the area within just a 15-hour timeframe.
The flooding claimed at least 13 lives and damaged more than 60,000 homes. This flood was deemed the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy destroyed parts of the east coast. Though the American Red Cross originally estimated the Louisiana flood costs at $30 million, after further evaluation by professionals, and recovering the extent of the damages, it is now going to be a multi-billion dollar effort. Gov. John Bel Edwards estimates the relief costs at approximately $8.7, exceeding the cost of Hurricane Sandy, which cost $8.3 billion, and the second costliest flood in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina. Gov. Edwards calls the flooding “unprecedented.”
Many residents in the affected areas did not have flood insurance or disaster relief supplies in their homes, as they were above the elevations normally affected by immense flooding, like New Orleans, for example. Now, Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas are taking tips from those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Twelve parishes have been declared disaster relief areas, roughly 30,000 people needed to be rescued, and over 100,000 households have registered with FEMA for help with temporary rental assistance.
The American Red Cross provides small item and clothing donations for people in need. Shoe and clothes donations are needed in all sizes, for all ages. New and used clothing donations are accepted at multiple American Red Cross donations centers nationwide, as well as charitable donation centers that team up to collect Red Cross donations, as well as goods for other charities, to send to people in disaster relief areas.