Answering the Call of Isaac
Parishes in Louisiana were hit hard again by a gulf hurricane, this one Isaac. New Orleans did not see the impact it has in previous storms such as Katrina, Gustav and Ike. But the tribal communities in southeastern Louisiana were severely impacted as the storm hovered over them for 48 hours. Isaac left some homes under as much as 12 feet of water.
On August 30, Lanor Curole, our Program Partner for the United Houma Nation, provided this community assessment to NRC:
Based on community demographics, the UHN estimates a total of 3,300 tribal citizens directly impacted by Hurricane Isaac. This represents approximately 25% of the total population of tribal citizens residing within the UHN service area. The range of impacts ranges from severe/total home destruction to minimal wind damage. As this event further unfolds and the UHN is able to travel to conduct on-the-ground assessments, we anticipate having firmer data on community needs.
In behalf of the United Houma Nation, Principal Chief Thomas Dardar is seeking assistance for 5 tribal communities, including the parishes of Plaquemines, Jefferson, Terrebonne, LaFourche, and St. Mary.
National Relief Charities has been able to truck over $300,000 worth of emergency provisions for the Houma people. Our first truck left, as soon as the storm resided, with nonperishable food, water, blankets for make-shift bedding, personal hygiene products, diapers, surgical masks, rain suits, food for animals, and other basic necessities. These goods were immediately distributed in four of the communities on Sunday. At the time, one community was still evacuated due to excessive flooding. This week, NRC has a second shipment en route consisting primarily of food and water, and a third request is in for clean-up supplies such as brooms, mops, bleach, disinfectant, detergent, and janitorial kits.
In providing disaster relief to the tribes, we are ever aware that the longer-term challenge of any hurricane, flood, or fire is in the aftermath. Yet once the storm is no longer on the media’s radar, people tend to forget. The aftermath is especially crucial for tribal economies that are stressed to begin with, as is the case in Louisiana. Housing needs as well as health risks will be paramount in this area.
We sincerely urge anyone who can to pitch in to do so, as intermediary resources and assistance will be needed by the Houma tribal communities, including:
- Assistance coordinating relief work in affected areas, and distributing relief supplies.
- Clean-up assistance due to flooding and roof damage caused by wind and wind-driven rain.
- Furniture and appliances for flooded homes.
- Cash assistance for families on fixed incomes with prolonged expenses due to evacuation and power outages. Hurricane Isaac hit at the end of the month, when individuals dependent on Social Security are at their most vulnerable financially.
- Assistance helping tribal citizens with limited English and reading proficiency apply for FEMA and other governmental aid.
If you are able to provide assistance, please contact Lanor Curole at 985-223-3093 in Houma, LA or email firstname.lastname@example.org.