Responding to 2021 Hurricanes

Photo of the Episcopal Asset Map with Hurricane Ida overlay.

Press ReleaseEpiscopal Relief & Development Partners with Episcopal Dioceses to Provide Emergency Assistance After Hurricane Ida

Press Release

September 9, 2021

Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal dioceses of Louisiana and Western Louisiana to provide aid such as temporary housing, food, gas money and other emergency supplies to communities in storm-damaged areas and to people who have evacuated their homes due to the flooding and power outages.

As of Wednesday morning, September 8, over 320,000 people remain without power in Louisiana, one week after Hurricane Ida struck the area as a Category 4 hurricane. Experts estimate the total damage from Ida will exceed $50 billion. The lack of power, particularly given the heat and humidity, makes many homes uninhabitable, even if they were not damaged by the storm. Without power, there is no air conditioning, refrigeration for food, or ability to clear out floodwaters. Mold and waterborne illnesses are a concern. As a result, many have evacuated the area and are staying in temporary housing and shelters elsewhere in the region until it is safe to return.

With Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana is meeting urgent needs in three different ways. First, the diocese is providing emergency relief, such as personal care items and food, to people in storm-damaged areas throughout the state. Diocesan leaders are also assisting evacuees who are unable to return to their homes by supplying gift cards and cash to help evacuees with gas, food, rental assistance and emergency supplies. Finally, staff are distributing tents and tarps to provide shelter for vulnerable people who had already been experiencing homelessness and have lost their belongings in the storm.

The Episcopal Church in Western Louisiana is also supporting evacuees who are unable to return home yet. With Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, diocesan leaders are distributing gift cards and personal care items to evacuees at shelters and local motels. The diocese is proactively visiting motels to provide evacuees with assistance for lodging costs and utilities.

“As power is being restored in some areas and roads are being cleared, people are beginning to return to their homes and the extent of the damage is becoming more clear,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director, US Disaster Program, Episcopal Relief & Development. “The dioceses of Louisiana and Western Louisiana have extensive experience in responding to hurricanes. Their experience and preparation enable them to quickly respond with assistance where it is most needed, both in the short-term and in the years to come.”

Episcopal Relief & Development US Disaster Program staff are working closely with partners throughout the Gulf Coast as they continue to identify ways to collaborate in meeting needs created by the hurricane.

Please continue to pray for everyone who has been affected by Hurricane Ida. Donations to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Hurricane Relief Fund will provide additional emergency relief in communities impacted by storms such as Ida.

Volunteers from St Paul’s Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in New Roads, St James’ Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge and St John’s Episcopal Church in Thibodaux provided and distributed food, paper goods, cleaning supplies and personal essentials to over 125 cars on the grounds of St John’s Episcopal Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

For over 80 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.

Photo courtesy of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana


Web StatementContinuing to Support Partners After Hurricane Ida

Web Statement

September 2, 2021

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support regional partners in response to Hurricane Ida as much of Louisiana and parts of Mississippi continue to face power outages, lack of water and extensive property damage to homes and businesses.

Hurricane Ida left more than a million people in the Gulf Coast region without power. While utility teams are working to restore power, as well as water and sewer, it may be several weeks before utilities are fully restored. Many residents have evacuated their homes, even if the home was not damaged, as it is not safe to remain without power or water. Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. Experts estimate the total damage could exceed $50 billion, according to AP News, making Ida one of the costliest hurricanes in US history. The remnants of Ida caused flooding and damage yesterday in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island as it moved north.

Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program team is continuing daily coordination calls with the Episcopal dioceses of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Western Louisiana in response to Hurricane Ida and is in contact with other partners as they assess the damage from the storm.

“Right now, our focus is on identifying and meeting immediate needs,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director, US Disaster Program, Episcopal Relief & Development. “We are grateful for the response from the community of people wanting to help and we ask that you not donate in-kind items because our partners don’t have the capacity to sort and store them.”

To learn more about how to help after a disaster, click here. Please continue to pray for the people who have evacuated, those who are still in their homes, first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island Please consider a donation to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Hurricane Relief Fund to support our continued response to Hurricane Ida and other storms.

 

The Episcopal Church in Western Louisiana delivered basic goods to evacuees at the Alexandria Megashelter at the request of the shelter.

For over 80 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.

 


Web StatementSupporting Partners in Response to Hurricane Ida

Web Statement

August 30, 2021

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana and other regional partners in the path of Hurricane Ida.

Hurricane Ida made landfall on Sunday, August 29 — on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph. The storm remained a Category 4 for six hours before weakening to Category 3 and eventually becoming a tropical storm. As of Monday afternoon, more than one million people in southeast Louisiana, including all of New Orleans, and more than 100,000 people in Mississippi were without power.

Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program team was in touch with partners over the weekend and began holding daily coordination calls with impacted dioceses on Monday morning. Disaster response teams are beginning to assess needs created by the hurricane and to determine how best to respond. In Louisiana, the power outages, cellular network outages and flooding are making check-ins with staff and vulnerable communities more difficult. To address this challenge, the Diocese of Louisiana is using AlertMedia, a cloud-based disaster communications tool that allows diocesan staff to easily text congregational leaders to share information. Episcopal Relief & Development and dioceses have successfully used this technology to communicate after previous disasters. The diocese is also coordinating with local VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster).

US Disaster Program staff and partners are also using the Episcopal Asset Map as a tool for connecting churches and resources for those in need. The map now has an overlay option that shows the path of Hurricane Ida, which enables users to easily find and connect with the help they need.

“The anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, on top of COVID-19 and previous storms, contributed to the successive trauma felt by many in the South as Hurricane Ida made landfall,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director, US Disaster Program, Episcopal Relief & Development. “At this time, safety is a primary concern. We stand ready to help our partners as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Please pray for everyone impacted by Hurricane Ida. Donations to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Hurricane Relief Fund will support the organization’s response to Hurricane Ida and other storms.

For over 80 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.