An Update on Hurricane Laura Recovery

September 28, 2020

Since Hurricane Laura made landfall on August 27, the Louisiana Conference responded and continues to respond to the disasters from the strongest storm ever to strike Louisiana. 

Because the damage from Hurricane Laura was so extensive, we could not provide volunteer housing or establish our base of operations in the disaster zone immediately after the storm.  

So, Asbury UMC in Lafayette agreed to serve as both our primary Operations Center and Supply Depot. The Operations Center provides office support, helps coordinate the distribution of supplies to the areas hardest hit by the storm, coordinates site assessments of homes needing tarping, mucking, or debris removal; updates the collaborative disaster management database; and serves as a base for deploying ERT missions.  

Donate Supplies Today

The staff of Asbury, along with countless United Methodist volunteers, boy scouts, U.S. Marines, and even the athletic department at the University of Louisiana Lafayette, have helped unload dozens of trucks, organizing and storing thousands of pounds of donated supplies in the depot.  

Since the first truck filled with supplies arrived at Asbury on September 1, our priority has been getting those supplies into the hands of survivors. 

As of September 25, we have pulled over 20 trailers filled with over $45,000 of donated supplies from Asbury to churches in the disaster zone for distribution to survivors in the community.  

Early Response Teams from around Louisiana and the United Methodist Connection have organized to tarp roofs, remove hurricane debris, chainsaw fallen trees, and deliver supplies to survivors.  

Many of these volunteers traveled long distances to reach the disaster zone. Providing a place for them to stay at night after a long day working in the field is essential. Seven United Methodist Churches in Louisiana made their facilities available to house our volunteers. Various shower trailers were moved into place, and arrangements were made with the members of the host congregations to feed the volunteers and show them our famous southern hospitality.

Twenty-four ERTs from Louisiana and thirty-six ERTs from Northern Illinois, North Carolina, Central Texas, Tennessee, and South Georgia have worked long, hot days in the disaster zone, providing over 3,100 hours of volunteer labor.  

Further, over sixty United Methodist volunteers from around our Conference participated in three workdays in Deridder, Sulphur, and Lake Charles with more to come.

Find Ways to Help

ERTs were deployed with generators, window air conditioners with extension cords, and fuel for pastors of United Methodist Churches in the disaster zone, allowing them to be present in their community with the church members.  

ERT Trainings Now Available

The North Carolina ERTs loaned us two travel trailers, and we were able to set up these trailers at the homes of several pastors whose homes were uninhabitable.  

Additionally, we have purchased generators, extension ladders, fuel, tools, tarps, building materials, and other supplies, allowing us to complete over three hundred site assessments, tarp, muck or remove debris from over 50 homes.

Your donations have made all of this work possible, but the need for help will continue and will become much more nuanced in the weeks to come. 

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Though we are making progress, there is so much more work to be done in this early response phase. Then, as we always do, the United Methodists of Louisiana will gear up for the long-term recovery of the cities, towns, and communities devastated by the storm. 

We will do this work together, united as Methodists, and united with the Holy Spirit.   


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