National coverage has finally begun for what the Lower Mississippi Forecast Center, a division of the National Weather Service, is calling a “1000 year rain event.” Flooding is occurring like the state hasn’t seen since Katrina due to a complicated, slow moving weather system that dumped as much as 30 inches of rain in only two days across nearly half the state. Over 40,000 homes were damaged by what officials have said is some of worst flooding ever to hit the state, and 8,000 people remain in emergency shelters. Eleven fatalities have been recorded so far.
"The current flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy [in Oct. 2012]" said Brad Kieserman, the Red Cross's vice president of disaster services, operations and logistics. With estimates of at least a billion dollars in damage across Louisiana, 20 parishes have been declared disaster areas and President Obama has declared a state of emergency.
Floodwaters are receding only to reveal a harrowing path to recovery. Many displaced people are without the protections of flood insurance because areas with no history of flooding were affected. Major response and recovery organizations are deploying, but they are stretched thin and need our support. Foundation Beyond Belief is launching a drive to aid the people affected by this event. We will be vetting, selecting, and announcing a beneficiary within the next 72 hours.
"Our hearts go out to all the people impacted by the flooding in Texas and Louisiana this year. Flooding can be devastating – to homes, morale, and livelihoods – especially when the affected areas haven't seen flooding before and often don't have flood insurance. And flood insurance benefits can be insufficient to help people fully recover," says Foundation Beyond Belief's executive director Noelle George.
"When people need help, secular humanists help them because it's the right thing to do. Because we believe there is no god out there watching over us. And because it's our responsibility to help when we can. Responding to the flooding in Louisiana is the humanist thing to do, and Foundation Beyond Belief is proud to lead the effort."
We are also fundraising for a future Humanist Disaster Recovery (HDR) Teams deployment to areas in the south affected by flooding (possibly Texas or Louisiana). HDR Teams first deployed to South Carolina in January to rebuild homes after the flooding there. Please donate to aid one or both team deployments. We appreciate your support!
Our Humanist Disaster Recovery Drives are a collaboration with the American Humanist Association (AHA). Thanks to the AHA for helping us raise visibility about these important efforts.
NOLA Times-Picayune: Louisiana Flood of 2016 resulted from '1,000-year' rain in 2 days
NOLA Times-Picayune: Louisiana flood: Live updates, Wednesday road closures
Please note: Foundation Beyond Belief does not retain any portion of donations directed to our beneficiaries. If you wish to support the efforts of FBB itself, we are always grateful for direct donations. Thank you!
*Any recurring contributions for disaster recovery drives, or one-time contributions that are received after a given drive is closed, may be directed to FBB general funds. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Drives are closed publicly and funds raised are announced publicly at the end of a drive.
Note: Picture is from Texas flooding (using temporarily until we get access to Louisiana pictures)