Early this morning, Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, battering the region with winds up to 150 mph. There is already one confirmed fatality, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says he expects more to be reported over the next few days. While there is already extensive damage in Louisiana, Laura continues to move inland, where damaging winds, isolated tornadoes, storm surge and inland flooding are all expected.
(If you need some clarification on various weather terms, we just did an explainer on what you need to know in situations like this.)
And, as we’ve also discussed before, a hurricane (or any natural disaster) occurring during a pandemic makes an already difficult situation even worse. Many people left without homes and electricity may seek assistance from an area shelter, which could be crowded—making them ideal spots for the spread of infectious disease (which is the case even when there’s not a pandemic).
If you want to help, here are organizations working on the ground to help those affected by Hurricane Laura. Though they are primarily looking for monetary donations, other items—like bottled water, disinfecting supplies and gasoline—have also been requested.
Imagine Water Works
This BIPOC and trans-led organization is the leader of a mutual aid network in Louisiana. Any donations made here will go directly to those impacted by the hurricane (not the organization itself). They’re committed to sharing exactly how and where the donated funds are used, and will prioritize the funding, leadership and safety of BIPOC residents.
Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies
Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies focuses on providing relief to people with disabilities after a natural disaster. You can learn more about their work and make a donation on their website.
Project HOPE has deployed an emergency response team to support local relief efforts in hurricane-affected communities on the Texas-Louisiana coastline. The organization is working to provide relief to families affected by the storm itself, and is also scaling up support for hard-hit community health systems. You can donate directly to Hurricane Laura relief efforts here.
United Cajun Navy
This volunteer group is requesting water by the case, gasoline and generators, as well as other volunteers with trucks and trailers to help deliver supplies. Visit their website to volunteer and learn more about how and where to donate.
Cajun Navy Rescue & Relief
Cajun Navy Rescue & Relief (not to be confused with the organization above) is currently seeking donations of supplies, including cleaning materials, rubber boots, bug spray, bleach, wipes, gloves, masks, respirators and disinfectants. Fill out this form on their website if you’re interested in donating supplies. They are also accepting monetary donations.
Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana
The Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana is raising money to help people recover from the widespread damage from Laura. The contributions they receive will be granted to local nonprofits with a proven record in providing relief during and following catastrophic events. You can donate here.
All Hands and Hearts
This volunteer-based organization focuses not only on the short-term impacts of natural disasters, but also looks ahead to ways they can help the community in the future. Their strategy involves first asking community members what they actually need in a given situation. You can donate directly to their Hurricane Laura projects here.
As a health-focused relief and development organization, Americares responds to people affected by poverty and/or disaster with medicine, medical supplies and health programs. You can donate directly to their Hurricane Laura relief fund here.
Operation USA provides on international disaster relief and development, focusing on the effects of disasters, disease, violence and endemic poverty. In addition to monetary donations (which can be made here), they are also currently requesting bulk corporate donations of relevant relief supplies. To find out more, contact email@example.com.
American Red Cross
As usual, the Red Cross is on the ground in Louisiana and Texas, providing assistance. Both the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast branches of the Red Cross have requested monetary donations rather than goods for pandemic/sanitary reasons, and says that the donations “will provide shelter, meals, relief supplies and more.”
You can donate by visiting their website, calling 800-RED-CROSS or texting LAURA to 90999 to make a $10 donation.