Local Red Cross volunteers have traveled south to lend a hand after flood waters ravaged parts of southern Louisiana last week.
Fourteen volunteers from Maryland are currently on the ground, with a total of 23 workers to be deployed by Thursday, either on-site or as virtual caseworkers, according to Lenore Koors, public information officer for the American Red Cross Greater Chesapeake Region.
Volunteers were first deployed on Monday, Aug. 15, just three days after a storm dumped two feet of rain on the area within a 48-hour period. Some are calling the storm the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Red Cross service trips typically last at least two weeks, and aim to help those in need with food, shelter and mental health support. Koors said some volunteers are assigned to do property damage assessments, while others help with supplies logistics or help connect families with necessary resources.
“Three weeks is a long time under those conditions,” Koors said. “Some of our volunteers are sleeping on cots. This is not a vacation.”
The flood damage in Louisiana left at least 13 people dead and thousands displaced. More than 115,000 people have applied for federal disaster aid, and the state has reportedly distributed $20 million to those in need so far. President Obama toured the area Tuesday, vowing to support flood victims.
Koors said the need for help is massive.
“We are in pretty desperate need for support from the community,” she said, adding that the Red Cross estimates recovery efforts on their end could cost up to $30 million. A total of $7.8 million in donations has been pledged.
Locals interested in donating can visit redcross.org or text the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.