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How to help victims of Hurricane Laura on the Gulf Coast

Hurricane Laura left extensive damage in its wake after making landfall near the border of Texas and Louisiana the week of Aug. 24, killing 19 people and leaving hundreds of thousands without power. The storm hit communities in southern Louisiana particularly hard, damaging or destroying a large number of structures.

“If you haven’t laid eyes on the devastation, words are not going to be adequate for me to convey to you just how catastrophic it was,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a press briefing on Aug. 30. “A very significant percentage of our state’s population’s lives are completely upside down.”

More than 250,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana were still without power on Tuesday, while more than 30,000 lacked electricity in Texas. A majority of deaths attributed to the storm in Louisiana were due to carbon monoxide poisoning, which victims were exposed to while unsafely operating generators because of power outages. Customers have been told it could be weeks until their power is restored. According to The Weather Channel, more than 180,000 people had “little to no running water” as of Monday, with “at least 183 water systems still shut down” as a result of the storm.

Estimates vary, but most suggest that the storm caused several billion dollars worth of damage.

Louisiana has been severely affected by the coronavirus, with more than 148,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths confirmed in the state since the pandemic began. Concerns over potential outbreaks have led to a reduction in the number of large shelters that typically house evacuees during natural disasters, but that’s left people who have lost their homes with few options when it comes to seeking shelter.

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, rebuilding the communities that were shattered by Hurricane Laura will be a complicated feat. Aid organizations on the ground in Louisiana and Texas are working to provide important resources while protecting their members and residents in need from the virus.

Here’s how you can help victims of Hurricane Laura in Louisiana and Texas.

  • The Cajun Navy Relief & Rescue is accepting aid in the form of supplies, volunteers and monetary donations. Donate here.
  • SBP is seeking volunteers and donations, which will provide personal protective equipment for those helping with the relief effort, resources to begin cleaning up damaged homes and other projects. Donate here.
  • Project HOPE is coordinating with local partners to deliver aid and supplies to victims of the hurricane. Donate here.
  • The Red Cross is providing emergency lodging, supplies, medications and other aid to communities in need. Donate here, and be sure to select “Hurricane Laura” before you submit. You can also give blood or volunteer to help out with relief efforts.
  • Save the Children is working to meet the needs of children who were displaced by the storm. Donate here.
  • Global Giving has created a disaster fund to provide emergency aid like food, water and shelter to those impacted by the Hurricane. Donate here.
  • United Way of Southwest Louisiana is distributing funds to help with short and long-term relief efforts. Donate here.
  • The Salvation Army is “providing food, drinks, emotional & spiritual care and other emergency services” in Texas and Louisiana. Donate here.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank is providing meals to families in need in the hard-hit city of Lake Charles and other communities in southwest Louisiana. Donate here.
  • The Houston Food Bank is accepting donations and volunteers to help provide food to those in need. Donate here.
  • World Central Kitchen distributes nutritious meals to those in need as part of its emergency food relief efforts. Donate here.

Note: We verified organizations to the best of our ability. If you aren’t sure about the legitimacy of a charitable organization, visit Charity Navigator.