As many of you probably know by now, the area of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and surrounding areas have lately (still ongoing in some areas) sustained significant flood damage. The National Weather Service has said that this is a 500-1000 year flood. People that thought their homes are well out of the flood plain are helplessly wondering how to repair the damage left behind by 3-4 feet of water inside the houses. Many of them have no insurance, having thought themselves to be far enough out of the flood areas to not need flood insurance. Back To Jerusalem has an office in the flood area and one of their leaders asked us if we would be able to help. He said that it looks like the total damage will be comparable to the damage left by Hurricane Katrina. Our field director went down yesterday to assess the damages and to talk to the locals about how we can help. Following is the report that he sent back;
Initial Assessment Report proceeding the flood of Baton Rouge LA,
and surrounding counties.
So far 110,000+ homes are accounted for as damaged. Most of them are only water damaged about 3-4 feet from the floor level. Fortunately there are no basements anywhere. Everywhere it seems like those who are able to are gutting out their own houses then pitching in and helping others which is a real blessing to see! There is also a large church/ministry/community outreach facility that includes an Academy or Bible school of around 400 students, a Church, Food pantry, Radio station, and an anti abortion Crisis Pregnancy Center. Estimated damages $3.5 million.
Most of the victims did not have insurance and have lost all. We will need funding and volunteers in a huge way. We will need truckloads of drywall, insulation (4″), new appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators, deep freezers, stoves, new mattresses, etc. An estimated 15% have insurance to cover flood damage since just recently (July 2016) FEMA declared these areas as non flood areas and most people dropped their flood insurance. Now they (FEMA) is refusing aid to those without insurance coverage.
So, teams are needed. Cooks and Housekeepers for the team. Also, several vehicles for the team to use to get around. Specifically needed would be a pickup truck or two that can haul trailers/loads of trash and building materials. And of course lots of men to do the work. Clean up crews and carpenters to rebuild. Very important skills needed; drywall finishers, finish carpenters, flooring (carpet, linoleum, tile) etc. As well as lots of good old manual labor to clean up so the rebuilding can begin.