I have been so saddened as the news of the floods, deaths and devastation in Louisiana is starting to trickle out. After Hurricane Katrina Kanye West said that George Bush didn’t care about Black people and everyone jumped down his throat, taking him literally.
The people hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina were mainly black and low income and that is what Kanye was referring to. The president, the government, and everyday man do not appear to care about the plight of the poor. In fact, these days most people seem to only care about the causes the media chooses to highlight The amount of coverage, the words used and tone of the reporter often give the public a feel for the story being covered.
Louisiana has been under water since Friday and very little news has been coming out of the area. You’d think when 30,000 people have to be rescued off rooftops, from cars stuck on the highway and evacuated from their homes there would be more media coverage. One would think when 11,000 people are in shelters, 40,000 homes destroyed and thousands in need of assistance there would be a national outpouring of aid, love, and prayers. One might even think there would be a “Pray for Louisiana” button or something on Facebook. They are quick to jump on every national and international crisis, somehow the dead bodies in the streets of Louisiana didn’t make the cut.
In case you’ve missed the minimal coverage that has been aired on the flood of 2016 let me fill you in. In Louisiana’s third major weather event of 2016 nine people have been confirmed dead and the death toll will surely rise as flood waters recede. Most of the reported flood related deaths have been in the East Baton Rouge Parish.
Many of the homes affected were in an area not known as a high risk flood area, the majority of these residences were without insurance. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon told reporters that in Baton Rouge only 12 percent of residences are covered by flood insurance. In nearby Lafayette, the number is only slightly higher at 14 percent. Homes not in a high risk flood area in Louisiana are not required to carry flood insurance by their mortgage lenders. Additionally, if a home is paid off, flood insurance is at the discretion of a homeowner whether they live in a high flood area or not.
Thursday 8 inches of rain was in the forecast, with higher totals expected in some areas. Some areas received more than 2 feet of rain in a 48-hour period that lasted until Saturday morning.
Due to the slow response to help for stranded flood victims, local residents who were able to get out in their boats have helped evacuate people. The Coast Guard eventually assisted them as well. Those less affected by the storms have also been out to going door to door to take food and supplies to those who can’t get out.
Just to get an idea of how bad the flood waters have been, The National Weather Service says the Vermilion River reached and maintained a crest of 17.5 feet as of Monday. The flood state is 10 feet. Think about that much extra water PAST the flood state with nowhere to go. Water reached the rooftop of some homes.
The federal government has declared 8 parishes a major disaster area. In Livingston Parish, home to nearly 138,000 people, an estimated 75 percent of the homes are considered a “total loss.” Approximately 40,000 Louisiana residents have registered for FEMA assistance since the flood started.
One of the most heart wrenching photos to come out of the Louisiana flood of 2016 is of coffins floating down a flooded street, uprooted from the ground. Actor Wendell Pierce of “The Wire” lost his home in the flood. It is not the first time a flood in Louisiana affected this actor personally. His parents home was damaged when Hurricane Katrina hit.
Want to help the victims of the Louisiana flood of 2016? There are many way you can show your support.
100 BLACK MEN: The 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge has established a relief fund to help supply youth and families affected by the ongoing flooding in the Southern Louisiana region. You can join this effort and help by donating at http://www.100blackmenbr.org/about/fundraisers/.
BATON ROUGE AREA FOUNDATION: BRAF has a relief fund that assists nonprofits responding to flooding across the state. People can make donations online at http://www.braf.org. Donations to the Louisiana Flood Relief Fund are tax deductible.
FOUNDATION FOR LOUISIANA: The foundation is ready to help, with contributions to the Strategic Flood Response Fund, to provide assistance for both relief and immediate recovery efforts. Donation options are available on the homepage of their website at www.foundationforlouisiana.org . All money donated will be directed solely toward disaster relief and recovery efforts. (You can also donate directly here.)
RED CROSS: Those wanting to volunteer can register at http://www.redcross.org/louisiana (click on Volunteer on right side). You can also call 855-489-2528 or sign up online at volunteerlouisiana.gov. To help people affected by the Louisiana Floods, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recovery from these disasters. For any other questions about donations, visit http://www.redcross.org/faq/.