TULSA, Okla. — The American Red Cross of Kansas and Oklahoma are sending help as Hurricane Ida slams into Louisiana. There are more than 600 volunteers on the ground in Baton Rouge to assist in relief efforts. Of those volunteers, 15 of them are from the Oklahoma Kansas region.
The organization tells 2 News Oklahoma they are hunkering down now as they wait fro the storm to pass. The red cross put volunteers and supplies there ahead of the storm and evacuation centers are already operating. They have a disaster help services team, mental health team, and a disaster assessment team.
However, the organization tells 2 News Oklahoma that getting more volunteers has been a challenge. There are 16 different natural disasters the American Red Cross is responding to across the country.
The damage the hurricane left behind is already extensive. The rain and high winds have already knocked out much of the power to more than a million people in Louisiana.
Crews from Oklahoma’s Urban Search and Rescue were deployed to Baton Rouge Saturday morning. They will be joining teams from other states including Mississippi, Indiana, and Tennessee along with crews from FEMA.
Chuck French, leader for Oklahoma’s Task Force One, says responding during disaster quickly and efficiently is part of the Oklahoma Standard.
"We do everything in technical rescue, ropes, confined spaces, drench, and boat rescue. So we've been doing this for years. And these deployments don't happen very often so when they happen, we're excited we get to go,” French said.
The task force plans to be there for the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, The Salvation Army in Tulsa is also sending a team to Louisiana. They'll be in an area with no electricity and will help deliver meals to residents.
Hundreds of volunteers and teams from around the country are coming together to help neighbors in need.
“We work together in the best possible way to make a world of difference in these people’s lives," said Wayde Normandin, emergency disaster resource manager for The Salvation Army Tulsa. "They’re hurting and suffering and experienced a maybe a loss of their homes or maybe the loss of a loved one.”
Starting Tuesday, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief is sending 30 teams of different volunteers to Louisiana each week.
The nonprofit has been providing support for disaster victims for 48 years with members from more than 850 Oklahoma churches.
"It's not the best time to be in a bayou in Louisiana, but it's the time that we find and the time that Louisiana's called -- and we're answering the call."
Volunteers are preparing more than 9,000 hot meals each day for victims over the next few weeks.
Donate to Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief here.
To learn more about how to help with the American Red Cross’s relief efforts, CLICK HERE.
You can donate to The Salvation Army here.
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