Tulane University and New Orleans are all too familiar with the challenges that communities face in the aftermath of disasters. We also know the impact that committed, compassionate volunteers and community members can have on recovery initiatives when they work together towards a common goal. COVID-19 may have changed the way we can engage in these recovery initatives, but not our desire to help our neighbors. Learn how you can be involved below. If you have a Hurricane Ida donation request or volunteer opportunity, please share it here. It will automatically be added to the listings below
On August 29th, 2021, days after the beginning of school, Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fouchon, LA, 60 miles south of New Orleans as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 150 mph. This storm devastated communities in its path 16 years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. As a university committed to community engagement, we are moved to help. Many faculty, staff and students are from or have relationships with communities and organizations that have sustained great damage. Countless more have reached out to find out how they can help. The Hurricane Ida Disaster Relief Fund will allow us to answer those requests and in turn help communities.
Many times, monetary donations are the best way to help local communities. In some situations, organizations may request specific items. Please check with the organization before making an in-kind donation.
Interested in volunteering? Volunteer with established organizations; do not “self-deploy.” This could create an additional burden for emergency workers. Established organizations have worked with local communities to identify needs and developed resources to support volunteers in this work. Likewise, many of the areas hardest hit by disaster might not be immediately ready for volunteers. Be patient. Disaster recovery is a long process.
The Disaster Recovery Timeline
When disaster strikes a community, its impact dominates the news. Images and accounts of distress fill TV screens and airwaves. If the emergency remains in the news for more than a week or two, it seems like long-term coverage. Educating yourself on the different phases of disaster recovery is an important first step in helping. Generally, mass media cover the first phase of a disaster, whereas the long-term disaster-response unfolds over several phases and can last months or even years. The need conitnues long after the media coverage ends and the national attention shifts. Contine to tell the story of Hurricane Ida and keep up to date on recovery developments and needs.
After disasters, non-profit organizations can be overwhelmed by well-meaning donations of clothing, household goods, sports equipment, etc. Listen to the stories of the people on the ground, and direct your giving based on what has been identified as a need. Furthermore during COVID-19, organizations working in disaster-affected areas face additional challenges and new needs. Dale Herzog, Director of Humanitarian Logistic for the UPS Foundation, encourages you to ask three questions:
1. Is this stuff wanted?
2. How will this stuff get there?
3. How will the stuff get distributed after it arrives at its destination?
Tulane Student Resources and Support Services
If you need assistance and are not sure where to begin, please contact the Office of Student Resources and Support Services (SRSS). During business hours you can call (504) 314-2160, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For after-hour support, the Division of Student Affairs provides a 24/7 professional staff on call for urgent situations and can be reached by calling (504) 920-9900.
United Way 211
United Way’s 2-1-1 is a free hotline that provides information to individuals seeking community resources like shelter, food and water, recovery support, and other basic needs, before, during and after disasters. The service is available in 180 languages 24/7 by simply dialing 2-1-1 or visiting 211.org
Individuals who need assistance ahead of, during, and after disasters can contact 211 by simply dialing 211 from a cell phone or landline. 211 is a free, 24/7, hotline, available in many languages, that provides information to individuals seeking community resources like shelter, food and water, recovery support, and other basic needs, before, during and after disasters.
Citizens affected by natural disasters can also apply for FEMA assistance. Click here. You can register at any time, before you know if you have suffered any damages.