Loving your neighbors in the Louisiana flood

Loving your neighbors in the Louisiana flood August 31, 2016

That flooding in Louisiana that killed 13 and damaged 40,000 homes brought out some inspiring examples of neighbors helping each other, churches serving those in need, and out-of-state strangers showing up to help.

As the disaster moves into the clean-up phase, bureaucracy and politics threatens to get in the way.

But we can still help.  One way is to give to LCMS Disaster Response.

From Andrew Vanacore,  In Louisiana, the Political Mess May Outlast the Flood – POLITICO Magazine:

Imagine everything you own, dunked in dirty water and mounded on the curb outside your house. Old VHS tapes, the piano, the wardrobe, the family photos. The water came up so quickly you couldn’t save anything. Now, imagine the same thing at the house next door and the one across the street. All the way down the block and the block after that. Ramparts of debris, piled head-high in front of every home. That’s how things look right now across whole neighborhoods of Baton Rouge and the surrounding counties, or parishes as they’re called in Louisiana. It’s all the more breathtaking because it wasn’t supposed to happen here. This isn’t below-sea level New Orleans caught in the path of a hurricane. This is the high-and-dry state capital. This is where people fled after Hurricane Katrina, and, ironically, where many stayed, thinking they were finally out of harm’s way.
And yet here we are, with 13 dead and perhaps 40,000 homes damaged (the estimate keeps climbing) after a storm that dropped more than 20 inches of rain in some areas over the space of a few days. Meteorologists pegged the odds of seeing an event like that in a given year at between 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent—a once-in-a-1,000-years storm. Nearly a third of the state has been declared a federal disaster area.

Two weeks after the rain finally stopped and the flooding began to recede, a reflexive need to help has taken hold. Co-workers, church groups and perfect strangers are still turning up to help stunned flood survivors tear out sodden drywall and insulation. Neighbors downriver, who have done all this before, are eager to lend a hand. As are the nonprofit groups that sprang up in Katrina’s wake, with intimate knowledge to pass along about battling the red tape of the recovery bureaucracy and the black mold endemic to water-logged houses. While the flood was still rising around people’s homes, a fleet of good Samaritans with fishing boats, known locally as the Cajun Navy, came to the rescue. In Lafayette, a city to the west of Baton Rouge where low-lying neighborhoods had been swallowed by the Vermilion River, I ran into a couple who had driven a half hour from Opelousas with a boat in tow. They were sick of watching the disaster unfold on Facebook and the TV news. “People need help,” they said.
But this kind of goodwill is going to do only so much for beleaguered flood survivors. And that’s where the politics of America’s latest natural disaster will get dicey.
[Keep reading. . .] 

This story says that some of these good Samaritans, though, are being thwarted or even punished by government bureaucracy–all of the rules about building permits, food distribution, insurance requirements, etc.

HT:  Mary Moerbe

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