Updated 8/27/2020 11:55pm (CT)
Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 at about 1am (CT) Thursday morning near the district of Cameron in Louisiana and tracked north along the Texas-Louisiana border. Thankfully, the 20ft “unsurvivable” storm surge that was predicted did not materialize, but the 9ft storm surge that did created flooding that could spread up to 40 miles inland and may take days to recede. One person is confirmed dead in Louisiana, but that number is expected to rise as officials as search and rescue operations begin. The extent of the damage is not yet known, but there is no doubt that Laura caused and is causing extensive damage primarily in low-income rural areas. Recovery, hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, will be long, difficult, and expensive. As of this morning, Laura has weakened as it moves inland to a dangerous Category 2 storm, but could intensify to hurricane status again when it reaches the Arkansas border later today.
As Hurricane Laura nears landfall on the Texas and Louisiana border, Foundation Beyond Belief is asking for your generous donation to our Hurricane Recovery 2020 Appeal. As a weaker tropical storm, Laura is already responsible for at least 23 deaths in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Laura has strengthened rapidly in the Gulf and is currently a Category 4 hurricane. Storm surges could be as high as 18 feet, and with coastal Louisiana's low-lying geography, there could be flooding up to 35 miles inland reaching the I-10 corridor.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is strongly urging evacuation from affected zones, emphasizing that we are facing "an unsurvivable storm surge where it will be hitting." Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is also urging residents to evacuate and has fully activated the Louisiana National Guard--the first time since Hurricane Isaac in 2012--because he anticipates extensive search and rescue efforts.
In Port Arthur and elsewhere, disasters hit low-income communities the hardest and recovery periods are much longer. Many places in the storm’s path have not yet recovered from Hurricane Harvey. And now they are about to be hit again.
This deadly storm will cause widespread damage and require extensive response and recovery, made more complex by the current pandemic. Shelters will have the added expense of providing space and supplies to reduce spread of COVID-19. They must enforce social distancing and disinfecting guidelines for the safety of volunteers and evacuees. Shelter evacuees are more likely to have poor health care coverage, making it particularly important that such safety measures be well-funded.
The 2020 Hurricane Season is expected to be more active than average and we expect this will not be the last major hurricane this season. FBB will keep this campaign open through the end of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Please note: All donated dollars will be used exclusively to support recovery efforts for this disaster, either in the form of grant(s) to vetted nonprofits or a combination of grants and FBB volunteer deployments. No donated dollars will be used to support FBB’s operating expenses: 100% of contributions will go to recovery efforts (after credit card processing fees). In the earliest stages of a disaster, it may be too soon to select a beneficiary organization or organizations. When one has been selected, FBB will post information and any additional updates here.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott: Approaching Hurricane Laura Described As Having An ‘Unsurvivable Storm Surge’ (CBS Local Dallas Fort Worth)
Tropical Storm Laura Kills at Least 23 People in Haiti, Dominican Republic (The Weather Channel)
The Humanist Disaster Recovery program is sustained through a partnership between Foundation Beyond Belief and the American Humanist Association (AHA).
We thank AHA for their generous support of our efforts.