Gulf Coast Update

The Situation

Hurricane Isaac left heavy damage behind as it crossed the states of Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas. The storm has been blamed for eight deaths: six in Louisiana and two in Mississippi. At the peak of the storm well over 1 million homes were left without power. Work continues to restore power to more than 100,000 customers still without electricity.  Some tornadoes from the storm were also reported; damage, if any, from those tornadoes is still not known.

Very little information is yet available about the numbers of homes damaged and destroyed. A very early estimate indicates the cost of the storm will be more than $2 billion. The number of people sheltered peaked at approximately 9,000 survivors. Six hundred eighty four people are still in shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi and thousands more remain with friends, family, and in motels. Feeding operations continue to operate in the affected states.

Moderate to major flooding occurred from southeastern Louisiana to the western Florida panhandle. Damage assessments are underway in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.  All 64 Parishes in Louisiana have declared a state of emergency. Severe flooding occurred in Plaquemines Parish when an 18-mile stretch of levee was overtopped. Severe flooding occurred in Slidell due to heavy storm surge off of Lake Pontchartrain. Substantial damage also occurred in St John the Baptist Parish and Tammany Parish.  At least 13,000 homes are damaged across Louisiana.

Preparing and Responding

Our partners at Church World Service are continuing to work with state, regional and local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, or VOADs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, and CWS-member denominations and other agencies to determine where material goods are needed. 

Through Church World Service and our wide ecumenical network, Week of Compassion’s response will include debris removal, warehousing and distribution of supplies, emotional and spiritual care, providing personnel for feeding and sheltering operations and volunteer management. When the initial response phase ends, CWS and its member communions — including Week of Compassion and Disciples Volunteering as Disciples representatives — will assist with the long-term recovery of the communities and the many activities that will be required to rebuild homes, lives and communities.

Week of Compassion has provided grants to families affected by flooding and has scheduled a pastoral visit in partnership with Disciples Volunteering and Great River Region Staff to visit affected communities, local partners, and discuss possibilities for long term and more immediate response.  As we gather information, we will pass it along to you.

Many communities affected by Isaac were impacted by Katrina seven years ago; several of these communities are still recovering.  If you would like to help support our response to Isaac and reach out in Courageous Compassion, you can give here.

Clean Up Buckets

Many people in the wake of disasters benefit greatly from Church World Service material goods such as CWS Clean-up Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits and School Kits.  However, the response to Hurricane Isaac will rapidly deplete supplies, especially of CWS Clean-up Buckets. All efforts to replenish supplies for future emergencies are as always, greatly appreciated. Information on Clean-up Buckets is available here.

Recent Responses

Disaster Relief
California, emergency refugee assistance
Great River Region, Hurricane Isaac recovery assistance