Millions in Louisiana are without power following the landfall of Hurricane Ida, and authorities are beginning to assess the devastation and search for those in need. We hope there will be no further loss of life from the storm. At the same time we are preparing for the inevitable. There will likely be tens of thousands who find their homes and property destroyed or who cannot return home for lack of power and other necessities. With about 2,500 Coast Guard members in the area, it is clear many of their families will be among those affected, even as they help their communities recover.
The Coast Guard Foundation has opened our emergency disaster relief program to assess Coast Guard member and family needs and make sure they quickly get resources to bounce back from the devastation as they serve our Nation. But the demands of the pandemic and a historic hurricane season in 2020, have left our disaster funds perilously low. With the height of the 2021 hurricane season upon us, we need the assistance of our generous partners to assist Coast Guard families recovering from Hurricane Ida and future disasters.
SITUATION UPDATE: The Coast Guard has flown dozens of air sorties since early Monday morning rescuing 17 people. Coast Guard crews are coordinating closely with agency partners and maritime stakeholders to safely reopen maritime traffic along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Key areas along the river remain closed as recovery operations continue and crews are working with port partners to identify and mitigate grounded and submerged vessels along banks of the Lower Mississippi River. They are also investigating potential environmental hazards and spills in the impacted area.
At least 1,000 Coast Guard families are estimated to be impacted – without power or suffering damage to homes. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Houma’s building was wiped out, and the crew is working from alternate locations. Coast Guard Station Grand Isle, which is hurricane hardened, is currently uninhabitable. The Foundation has received more than 65 requests for disaster assistance in the last 48 hours. Coast Guard members are coming home to find missing roofs, destroyed houses, flooded cars and spoiled freezers. We expect the number of emergency requests to continue to increase as evacuated families return home and assess damage.
Knowing their families are cared for allows Coast Guard members to focus on serving their neighbors and rebuilding their communities even if their homes and property are damaged.
Since 2017 the Coast Guard Foundation has provided more than $2 million in disaster relief to Coast Guard members and families affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters.
In 2020 the Foundation distributed disaster relief grants of up to $3,000 to more than 153 Coast Guard members and families impacted by natural disasters — these disasters stretched coast to coast in 2020, and included wildfires in the West, a devastating storm in the Mid-West, and four high-impact storms in the Gulf Coast and Florida.
Learn more about our emergency disaster relief program here:
Title photo: MH-65 Dolphin helicopters are staged at Air Station Houston ahead of Hurricane Ida. It's vital to protect crews and assets from the worst of the storm so they can surge after to help local communities. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Sean Kshimetski)