UPDATE – September 7, 2021
The Southwest Region Conference has been housing residents from New Orleans and surrounding areas whose homes had to be evacuated, at various locations around the conference office. The largest facility that was able to accommodate most people was the Lone Star campground in Athens, Texas. In addition to ACS providing aid, other departments from the conference have stopped by such as the Family Ministries Director, W.S. Lee, who met with many individuals on the campground. Since social distancing rules are in place, the number of people will be kept to a reasonable amount before they’re directed to other facilities such as WHO (World Harvest Organization) and Fondren in Houston who have prepared their churches for any overflow. The evacuees are provided with food and other essential items, as well. The Arkansas-Louisiana Conference is preparing to set up a Mobile Distribution into some of the hardest-hit areas by collecting goods that will be used for this operation. However, people are being asked not to come into the area due to the high flood waters, downed power lines, and fallen trees. Hammond and Grand Isle were hit the hardest as the storm swept through these areas as a Category 3 hurricane.
On Sunday afternoon, August 29, 2021, Hurricane Ida made landfall along the U.S. northern Gulf coast as a Category 4 storm, severely affecting Louisiana and Mississippi with drenching rains, relentless winds, and massive storm surge. More than 2,500 people fled Ida’s path and spent Sunday night in community shelters. Over one million residents are currently without power across Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Many neighborhoods that are still recovering from the devastation of hurricanes in 2020 are now facing flooded homes yet again, along with a daunting recovery process. And Hurricane Ida isn’t done yet; expected flash flooding, damaging winds, and significant rainfall will continue as the storm moves north this week.
We have been in constant contact with our ACS leadership at the local conferences who are currently on the ground with their Disaster Response teams rendering support to the affected communities. Southwest Region Conference ACS Director, Durandel Ford, is leading his team in providing food and other needed items through mobile distribution. They are also setting up shelters at a few local churches to house evacuees. ACS Director of Arkansas-Louisiana Conference, Lavida Whitson, is working with her team to compile supplies that will be used either at a specific point of Distribution or take them into the devastated areas.
Please remember in your prayers the communities who have been affected by this disaster event.
Photo Credit: Edmund D. Fountain for The New York Times