Hurricane Katrina has left a trail destruction throughout Louisiana and nearby states. Levees broke in New Orleans wiping out the city. Looters acting without conscience robbed the stores and homes of their neighbors. Meanwhile, the dead must be left behind in order to save the living. In the midst of all this chaos, many Americans are lending a hand to the relief efforts.
Chris Duhon of the Chicago Bulls is a native of Slidell, LA. He knows most of the victims first hand. He has set up the Chris Duhon Hurricane Relief Fund which will work in conjunction with FEMA. The fund will provide food, money, clothing, and whatever else is needed to Slidell’s survivors.
The Arkansas National Guard left Tuesday to help rescue efforts. They’ve sent two Black Hawk helicopters and 35th aviation brigade to provide search and rescue aid. Other troops will be put into action in the next week or two to assist in cleanup.
Peggy McNery of the Salvation Army Emergency Radio Network has been handling the role of controller. She has been working with Ham Radio Operators in an effort to get those trapped in their homes in contact with local rescue officials. The Ham Radio Operators fill in where telephone lines are out of operation.
Jerry Ostendorf of Pleasantville, Iowa is an emergency management official. His job is to coordinate relief efforts in the aftermath of the hurricane. His role is vital in coordination teams coming in from throughout the USA to alleviate the immediate problems such as water and sewage service. They’ll begin work on restoring vital roads and bridges and treatment facilities, so that the reconstruction can begin.
Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters left Fort Hood, Texas for Louisiana and Mississippi. They are loaded to the gills with vehicles, food, and more. These things will be used by soldiers so that they don’t drain local relief agencies. The helicopters will then be used to evacuate people.
Battered Floridian communities are lending a helping hand. Though they’ve had their share of hurricane troubles, Floridians are thinking of their neighbors in other hurricane devastated states. A 31 vehicle convoy has headed to Alabama and Mississippi with over 100 volunteers. The volunteers are part of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.
Operation Katrina has been established by radio stations in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are collecting such necessities as flashlights, tarps, batteries, water, baby formula, and more. Trucks have been graciously donated by Planes Moving and Storage owner Jim Baugham. He is also paying for the drivers to transport all the donated items.
Rescue teams from Menlo Park, California have left for Louisiana. Also, the California Urban Task Force 3 of Solano County is joining in rescue efforts. These teams bring with them inflatable boats, jet skis, and an air boat. The teams are made up of paramedics, scuba divers, firefighters, and helicopter pilots who are trained specifically in water rescue operations.
Elise Crawford of Westland College in Indiana felt the need to help hurricane victims. She worked with fellow students to collect money for relief. They set a two week goal of $15,000. They met a similar goal last year and are confident they can do it for the people of Louisiana.
New York Cares has set up a call center in New York City. The call center will takes calls throughout the nation. New York Cares is coordinating this effort with the American Red Cross.
This is only a small list of the local efforts going on throughout America to provide needed aid. There will always be some fools taking advantage of a crisis. But, most Americans know when to pull together and we all extend our thoughts, prayers, and assistance to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, and other affected states.
[Aerial photograph taken from a Navy Helicopter helping in relief efforts in New Orleans was taken by Photographer’s Mate Airman Jeremy L. Grisham, http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=27553]