Volunteers Start Work, More Needed After Louisiana Floods

August 18, 2016 • United States
Flooding has damaged tens of thousands of homes in Louisiana, including these pictured in the Baton Rouge area.

Samaritan’s Purse has teams on the ground in two drenched cities helping people affected by historic floods in south-central Louisiana.

Samaritan’s Purse volunteers have begun fanning out across the storm-ravaged areas of Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana, to assist distressed flood survivors. More volunteers are needed to come alongside devastated homeowners in Jesus’ Name.

Volunteer Now

Our base of operation in East Baton Rouge Parish and surrounding areas is Greenwell Springs Baptist Church. Our focus there will be homeowners in Greenwell Springs, Denham Springs, and Baker.

Hosting our deployment for Lafayette Parish and surrounding areas—about an hour to the southwest of Baton Rouge—is Crossroads Church.

Disaster Relief Units will serve as our command center for these hard-hit communities of south-central Louisiana. Each tractor-trailer is stocked with heavy-duty tarps, generators, and other tools that will aid in the cleanup efforts.

Orange-clad team members are helping homeowners salvage precious home belongings and then assisting them in taking out waterlogged items to the curb. We also remove damaged walls, sheetrock, insulation, and flooring—and in some cases ceilings.

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are on hand in each city to provide spiritual and emotional care.

“These families need our help,” says Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “We want to remind them that they are not alone and show them God’s love as we help them recover.”

Todd Taylor, assistant manager for U.S. Disaster Relief, added: “The need is incredible, and we know with each home we go to, we are being given an opportunity to share Christ with these people who are hurting so badly.”

“We are being given an opportunity to share Christ with these people.”

Swamped by Monsoon Rains

South-central Louisiana was swamped by what meteorologists call a “monsoon depression.” The rare weather event sucked deep tropical moisture from the warmer waters in the Caribbean and then dumped more than two feet of rain in just a few days time. Acting like a hurricane but without the wind, it caused massive flooding.

Flooded car in drainage ditch

Flooding caused widespread damage across Louisiana communities.

At least 13 people were killed, and as many as 30,000 people had to be rescued—plucked from rooftops, submerged cars, and other precarious places. An astounding 60,000 homes have been damaged. More than 100,000 people have applied for federal assistance. [Numbers updated as of August 22.]

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called the widespread flooding a “truly historic event” and “a major disaster.” Thirty of the state’s 64 parishes have been declared disaster areas.

Please pray for those who have been affected by this catastrophe. Pray for our staff and volunteers—that they will provide relief to Gulf Coast residents and point them to the Comforter (see John 14:16).

Louisiana residents have been helped and ministered to by Samaritan’s Purse earlier this year. We deployed staff and volunteers to West Monroe and Bossier City this spring, when more than 27 inches of rain fell across northeast Louisiana. They were deployed for 12 weeks through Memorial Day weekend, investing 37,034 volunteer hours as they assisted 290 families. And 119 people made spiritual decisions for Jesus Christ.