As you are aware, Hurricane Isaac is continuing to pound Louisiana and the Gulf Coast with heavy rains and damaging winds which made landfall early today. This slow-moving storm, classified as a Category 1 Hurricane with 80 mph winds, brings a greater chance for flooding the longer it hovers, and the flood-producing rains are likely to continue for days with prolonged periods of tornadoes.
Across the region, schools and government offices have closed, hospitals and nursing homes have been evacuated, and some entire towns have been told to leave for higher ground. Serious flooding and widespread power outages from downed power lines are occurring along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts. Many Louisiana residents of the low-lying coast left boarded-up homes; others in and around New Orleans are hunkered down, trusting in a strengthened levee system that failed famously under Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the area seven years ago to the day.
Search and rescue teams have been mobilized and Louisiana officials have asked trained and authorized teams from Texas and six other states to be on standby. Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response (LSSDR) will play a key role in disaster response, as we have during Hurricanes Ike, Rita, and of course Katrina. Once again, LSSDR is committed to helping meet the immediate unmet needs as they become known, and to serving the affected communities working with our government agency and other faith-based partners over the “long haul,” however prolonged that turns out to be.
We have already received many calls and emails from individuals and churches asking, “How can I help?”
At this time, we ask our supporters to keep affected residents and responders in their prayers as we begin to learn the extent of the impact. I would also like to ask you to join me and LSS in preparing to help these survivors, with an online donation that will allow us to respond quickly to changing needs and reach out to those who will suffer loss and destruction. If you would like additional information about LSSDR’s disaster relief operations, please go to our website, www.lssdisasterresponse.org.