Local volunteers assist Louisiana flood victims

Local volunteers assist Louisiana flood victims

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The flooding in south Louisiana is being called the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. since super storm Sandy. Now, volunteers from your area are springing into action.

The Red Cross is launching a massive relief effort to help those in need. Meteorologists say in just the past week, more than two feet of rain has fallen over southern Louisiana.That's about 10.4 million Olympic pools. And it's the second time in five months that south Louisiana has received this much rain in such a short amount of time.

Dennis James with the South Carolina chapter of the Red Cross said locals here know that feeling all too well, and that's why it's important we do what we can to help.

"During October we had the floods here and everybody graciously came forward in helping us get back on our feet. We need to pay it back," said Dennis James.

More than 60 volunteers from South Carolina will be traveling to Louisiana Friday, including 18 from the Myrtle Beach area. However, many are already there.

"As bad as we had it in October. It's dramatically worse in some of the parishes in Louisiana. Homes are still literally under water. They're still doing search operations. There have been 11 fatalities in the state," said Lou Palm, a local volunteer currently in Louisiana.

Officials said more than 40,000 thousands homes have been damaged in the flood so far, with Baton Rouge hit hardest. And the rain shows no signs of stopping.

"It's ongoing. There's rain in the forecast for today and tomorrow. So it's not over with yet," James said.

The Red Cross and other partners are currently providing shelter and food for more than 9,000 people, most of whom are children. With more than 7,000 still seeking refuge as of Tuesday night, officials said resources are stretched very thin. Some have even compared this flood to Hurricane Katrina, the largest natural disaster in U.S. history.

"It's very close. In our books, it's already a category 7, which means approximately $50 million in damages," James said.

"[It's] the best thing that people can do right now, because this is going to be very long term just in the response. So if our folks in the Myrtle Beach area have the availability to volunteer, they should come to Red Cross there at Market Common, and volunteer to deploy, get some training, and get deployed out here to help," Palm said.

Red Cross officials said it will be at least a year before the disaster relief is finished, which means plenty of resources and man hours will be needed. To help people affected by the Louisiana floods, go to REDCROSS.ORG, call 1-800-REDCROSS or text LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a ten dollar donation.

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