As evacuees from Hurricane Ida disperse across the country, Catholic Charities are using their multistate diocesan structure to coordinate aid and help connect evacuees with family members in impacted areas.
Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm on August 29 on the eve of the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge David Aguillard said, “Our experience here is similar to that of Hurricane Katrina in that the real need is coming from the damaged infrastructure and failed power lines and so we have evacuees coming here and coming to the shelters.”
As one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall on record, Ida knocked out power and cell phone service throughout much of New Orleans and Houma-Thibodaux areas in particular.
Currently, evacuees can be scattered from Texas, Mississippi, Alabama to Illinois.
In an interview, Aguillard said, “I know evacuees are going mostly to Texas and Mississippi, and those Catholic Charities are doing what they can, but those areas are not opening shelters and so they are coming back because this is where the shelters are.”
Aguillard stated that Catholic Charities are working to help families at local shelters helping to coordinate meal deliveries, mobilize volunteers, and provide limited cash assistance. In coming weeks, they hope to be able to coordinate volunteer mission disaster response teams.
Aguillard said, “Some communities might need food and another community might need diapers, so cash is the most needed resource following a disaster. It takes the government weeks to get mobilized.”
In the interim, he said you can contact your local Catholic Charities to help families while FEMA mobilizes responses by visiting www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.
Source: Catholic News