NEW ORLEANS, La. — In the wake of Hurricane Ida, the message from the front lines right now is to stay away. State leaders are telling people who evacuated to not come back yet.
The damage from the Category 4 storm is serious, resources are limited, power remains out in many places, and water and sewer systems are challenged in several areas.
There is a great need for volunteers and supplies, but not those who are not experienced with disasters.
“So, it takes experienced eyes right now to really attack, you know, huge several trees down in the same street and it's a minor street, so the utility companies not going to get to it for a while. That's volunteer work,” said Chris Schottland with the United Saints Recovery Project, a local disaster relief organization the former after Hurricane Katrina.
The United Saints Recovery Project is working in the Central City neighborhood in New Orleans, housing Salvation Army volunteers and clearing debris. The area didn’t have flooding, but it suffered a lot of wind damage.
Schottland says they need experienced disaster team leaders. Communication between local nonprofits is also a challenge right now. In the coming days, reputable groups will start putting out specific supply lists and warehouse locations.
With natural disasters like hurricanes, cash is often preferred over donating items like clothing, food, or bottled water. Those supplies may be helpful, but they can cause logistical issues for those working to help victims quickly.
When you’re making a donation to help victims in a natural disaster, it’s also important to give to trusted organizations. The Better Business Bureau offers a tool that can help you to research groups before you donate to them.
Below are some other organizations that will be assisting hurricane victims:
The American Red Cross is accepting donations as it provides shelter and necessities to people displaced by Ida. Donations to the Red Cross enable the organization to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from the disaster.
The United Way of Southeast Louisiana is accepting donations to help victims of Ida. The organization says the funds help families get back in their homes, rebuild schools and businesses, and give vulnerable communities the care they need.
The Salvation Army says its network of trained disaster staff and volunteers are on the ground across the Gulf Coast to help provide food, clothing, clean-up kits, and emotional support to those affected by the storm. When donating, you can select Hurricane Ida and the organization says 100% of your donation will be applied to helping those victims.
Americares says its emergency response team has deployed to the Gulf Coast to respond to the Ida aftermath. Donations to its disaster relief fund will support the organization’s response to storms like Ida, the group says.
Groups helping animals
Since humans aren’t the only ones affected by Hurricane Ida, there are multiple organizations you can donate to that help animals. The Louisiana SPCA, the Mississippi ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States are all accepting donations.