Overview

A storm system described by the National Weather Service as an Inland Tropical Depression dropped more than 24 inches of rain across between August 11 and 13 in Louisiana and became one of the largest disasters in the United States since Hurricane Sandy. Tropical moisture along the Gulf Coast and additional is expected to worsen the flooding and the system is expected to continue westward across parts of Mississippi, Texas, and Missouri.

At least thirteen people died from the flooding in Louisiana. More than 20,000 people were rescued from flooded homes and vehicles, thousands were evacuated, thousands are without power, and many roads are impassable. The Louisiana National Guard activated more than 2,000 guardsmen.

The Louisiana state governor declared a state of emergency and a federal disaster declaration was issued for affected areas on August 14. There are 20 parishes included in that declaration – almost one-third of the state’s 64 parishes.

Sources for this disaster profile include FEMA, National Weather Service, CNN News, responding NGOs and funders.

Background

U.S. Coast Guard members rescue locals from flood water on their flat-bottom boats in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Aug. 14, 2016. The Coast Guard sent water and air assets to assist the victims in the Baton Rouge area. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Giles)

A storm system described by the National Weather Service as an Inland Tropical Depression dropped more than 24 inches of rain across between August 11 and 13 in Louisiana and became one of the largest disasters in the United States since Hurricane Sandy. Tropical moisture along the Gulf Coast and additional is expected to worsen the flooding and the system is expected to continue westward across parts of Mississippi, Texas, and Missouri.

At least 13 people died from the flooding in Louisiana. More than 20,000 people were rescued from flooded homes and vehicles, thousands were evacuated, thousands are without power, and many roads are impassable. The Louisiana National Guard activated more than 2,000 guardsmen.

The Louisiana state governor declared a state of emergency and a federal disaster declaration was issued for affected areas on August 14. There are 20 parishes included in that declaration – almost one-third of the state’s 64 parishes. Livingston Parish area is one of the hardest-hit areas, with about 80 percent of the parish under water or flooded. It is estimated (as of August 17) that at least 40,000 homes and buildings are damaged by the floods.

More than six rivers set record highs in southeast Louisiana, most extreme among them the Amite River cresting at 58.56, more than six feet above the old record from April 1977. Significant river flowing is expected to continue along portions of the Amite, Vermilion, Memento, and Calcasieu rivers for some time.

This is the second time this year Louisiana has suffered a major flood event – in March, more than 24 inches fell across the state.

In the Baton Rouge area,at least 273,391 people are living in flooded areas, and only 15 percent of affected homes have flood insurance. More than 7,000 businesses are affected, with retail, construction, healthcare, manufacturing and food service industries among the hardest hit.

Numerous government agencies have joined other organizations in response (see NGO response tab for list of other responding organizations):

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is expediting federal assistance to provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes. HUD granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages. Additionally, HUD is re-allocating existing federal resources such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs to give the state and communities the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars of funding to address critical needs, including housing and services for disaster survivors toward disaster relief.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed two National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Disaster Medical Assistance Teams consisting of approximately 80 NDMS members to Baton Rouge. In addition, U.S. Public Health Service commissioned corps officers and a 30-person command and control unit.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) deployed team leaders and subject matter expert personnel to assist the state and local government with debris removal and flood response operations. USACE also provided St. John Parish with HESCO Barriers. The state provided sand and coordinated with the National Guard for installation.

CDP Insights

Read the CDP issue insight on Floods.

Donors

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy will be utilizing the Gulf Coast Resilience Innovation Fund to meet long-term needs.

21st Century Fox Giving Program gave $100,000 to the Louisiana Association of United Ways.

3M Company Contributions Program gave $50,000 to Direct Relief and an additional $100,000 in product donations to Direct Relief.

Albertans Companies, Inc. Contributions Program donated $300,000 to the American Red Cross.

American Express Company Contributions Program  gave $8,000 in employee matching funds to the American Red Cross.

AMERIGROUP Foundation gave $75,000 to Americares.

Amerigroup Louisiana gave $10,000 to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

Amgen Foundation, Inc.,  gave $100,000 to Direct Relief.

AT&T Corporate Giving Program gave $50,000 to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and $50,000 to DonorsChoose.org.

Baton Rouge Area Foundation has launched the Louisiana Flood Relief Fund.

Boyd Gaming Corporation Contributions Program gave $50,000 to the American Red Cross.

Capital One Financial Corporation Contributions Program gave $250,000 to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Carnival Corporation gave $125,000 to American Red Cross, Louisiana Association of United Ways, and Save the Children. The Carnival Foundation gave employee matching funds (additional $125,000) to the same three organizations.

CDK Global, LLC gave $10,000 to the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation for Louisiana efforts.

CH2M Hill Foundation, $10,000 in an employee-matched fund to American Red Cross.

Chicken of the Sea International Corporate Giving Program donated $80,000 of in-kind products to United Way of Southeast Louisiana.

Clorox Company Contributions Program gave in-kind support of liquid bleach and trash bags to the American Red Cross.

Confie gave $10,000 to the American Red Cross.

C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., Corporate Giving Program, $20,000 of in-kind donations to Greater New Orleans and Baton Rouge Food Banks.

CVS Health Corporation Contributions Program provided in-kind support to American Red Cross, Direct Relief, Office of Baton Rouge Mayor.

CVS Health Foundation gave $50,000 to the Salvation Army Southern territory.

Enterprise Holdings Foundation, gave $100,000 to the American Red Cross.

Exxon Mobil Corporation Contributions Program gave $250,000 to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and $250,000 to the American Red Cross.

Foresters Financial gave $20,000 to the American Red Cross.

Foundation for Louisiana has launched the Strategic Flood Response Fund, the financial support of which will strengthen local, on-the-ground groups in immediate and through the critical long-term disaster planning and response phase.

Georgia-Pacific Corporation Contributions Program gave $50,000 to the Baton Rouge Area Food Bank, with an additional $50,000 employee match option.

The Greater New Orleans Foundation, together with the mayor of New Orleans has launched the NOLA Pay It Forward Fund.

Hancock Holding Company gave $60,000 to the Foundation of Acadiana.

Home Depot Foundation gave $500,000 to the American Red Cross, $100,000 to Team Rubicon, and $100,000 to Operation Blessing.

Hormel Foods Corporation Contributions Program gave in-kind support and food to Convoy of Hope.

Humana Foundation, Inc. gave $10,000 to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., Corporate Giving Program gave $25,000 to the American Red Cross.

JPMorgan Chase Foundation gave $100,000 to the American Red Cross, $50,000 to the Capital Area United Way, and $50,000 to the United Way of Acadiana.

Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., gave $30,000 to Knights of Columbus Louisiana State Council and $200,000 to the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

Kohl’s Corporation Contributions Program gave $100,000 to the American Red Cross.

Louisiana Bar Foundation has established a fund to address legal needs, including homeowner’s insurance, title clearing and federal aid eligibility utilizing community-based, clinic models in conjunction with FEMA’s disaster recovery centers. The  LBF is also funding a state-wide hotline to provide legal information and assistance to flood victims.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. Corporate Giving Program gave $500,000 to the American Red Cross.

Major League Baseball Corporate Giving Program gave $125,000 to the American Red Cross; $62,500 to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation; and $62,500 to High Socks for Hope.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation Contributions Program gave $100,000 to the American Red Cross, $50,000 to United Way, and $100,000 to other responding organizations.

Mosaic Company Foundation gave $50,000 to Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and $25,000 to Capital Area United Way.

Motiva Enterprises LLC gave $250,000 to the American Red Cross, Capital Area United Way, and other responding organizations.

National Hospice and Palatine Care Organization gave $20,000 to LMHPCO Flood Relief Fund.

Navient Corporation gave $20,000 to the American Red Cross.

Nestle Waters North America gave 475,000 bottles of water to Americares, Feeding America, and Gleaning For the World.

New York Life Insurance Company Contributions Program gave $50,000 to the American Red Cross, $25,000 to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and $25,000 to the Greater Baton Rouge Area Food Bank.

NOLA Media Group, in partnership with the Foundation for Louisiana, has created the One Louisiana Fund for small business relief.

Office Depot Foundation gave $150,000 of in-kind donations to various responding organizations, and $5,000 to the Humane Society.

ONE Banana North America Corporation, $10,000 to Convoy of Hope.

Pinnacle Financial Partners gave $10,000 to the American Red Cross.

Ready Pac Foods, Inc., gave $5,000 to the American Red Cross and $30,000 in meals and materials for comfort kits.

Regions’ Financial Corporation Contributions Program gave $25,000 to the American Red Cross.

Reynolds American Foundation gave $200,000 to the American Red Cross.

Rite Aid Foundation gave $50,000 to the American Red Cross.

Shell Oil Company Contributions Program gave $250,000 to American Red Cross, Capital Area United Way, and other responding organizations; along with an additional employee match.

Smithfield Foods, Inc., Corporate Giving Program gave in-kind product support to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and Operation BBQ Relief.

Southeastern Grocers Foundation, Inc. gave $282,697 to the American Red Cross.

Starbucks Foundation gave $100,000 to the American Red Cross.

Target Corporation Contributions Program gave $30,000 to the American Red Cross to aid affected schools; $50,000 to the American Red Cross; $200,000 to the Salvation Army and in-kind food and gift card donations.

United Way of Southeast Louisiana is accepting donations and funds.

Visa Inc. Corporate Giving Program gave $50,000 to the American Red Cross.

Walmart and Walmart Foundation has committed $1 million to the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, Convoy of Hope, and Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. The company also gave $500,000 in product donations to responding organizations and is helping to coordinate efforts with elected officials and governmental entities across the region to meet the needs of those affected by floods.

Welfare Community Foundation gave $15,000 to the American Red Cross.

W.W. Grainger, Inc., Corporate Giving Program donated $400,000 in products to the American Red Cross.

Please send your updates for this page to anna.hurt@disasterphilanthropy.org.

NGO Response

Airlink initiated a response operation, based on need requests from its disaster response partners and has already deployed personnel from two organizations, NECHAMA and Disaster Tech Lab to the disaster zone in Baton Rouge. Transportation was provided by United Airlines and JetBlue. The initial response personnel will survey damage and assess the situation for further outreach. Airlink continues to work actively with its partners to establish the need for airlift and cargo into the region.

All Hands launched a recovery project in Denham Springs, where 27 homes have been stabilized, 100 homes assessed, and 86 homes are waiting for teams to enter and stabilize. All Hands is also working with two AmeriCorps NCCC teams and one FEMA Corps team and assisting the Baton Rouge area Habitat for Humanity with volunteer teams to stabilize vulnerable Habitat beneficiary households.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has dispatched its disaster response team to conduct water rescue for animals displaced by severe flooding spanning East Baton Rouge and Lafayette Parish. The ASPCA is working with the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) to coordinate local resources required to rescue the large number of animals displaced by the flash floods.

American Red Cross has mobilized more than 100 disaster response vehicles and more than two dozen trailer-loads of shelter and kitchen supplies to bolster relief efforts. It continues to operate shelters for those displaced by the floods. Some of the supplies arriving now include water, personal hygiene items, insect repellant, cleaning kits, bleach and other important supplies. Where flood waters have receded, the Red Cross is beginning to distribute meals and relief supplies to people cleaning up their neighborhoods. Red Cross volunteers from all 50 states and all U.S. territories have responded to the area. In addition, the Red Cross has begun its long-term casework assistance, to help coordinate long-term follow-up help for victims.

AmeriCares has two emergency response teams in Louisiana to assess needs and coordinate aid shipments. Working with local partners—including food banks, social service organizations, as well as a free clinic and a shelter housing 2,000 people, AmeriCares is helping to coordinate the rapid distribution of these essential supplies such as diabetes medication, vaccines, nutritional supplements, hygiene kits, first aid supplies and bottled water for affected families; this includes enough tetanus vaccine to protect 700 residents and first responders. In the coming weeks, AmeriCares will continue to meet emerging and ongoing needs, including continued assistance for displaced families and support for health care workers assisting affected populations.

Catholic Charities is continuing to provide shelter, food and water at its Louisiana locations. The organization is well known for providing long-term recovery case management services in post-disaster situations.

Capital Area United Way is providing volunteer coordination and long-term recovery support for nine affected parishes.

Convoy of Hope has distributed 860 pallets of supplies from more than 33 locations. In many cases, trucks and vans were sent into the neighborhoods with supplies to pass out resources to the affected homeowners door to door. Convoy of Hope will transition into debris removal work as the need for immediate relief supplies subsides.

Direct Relief has delivered $359,106 in emergency medical resources to nonprofit health centers and clinics in the affected areas and also committed an initial $150,000 in cash for the emergency response effort in Louisiana. In addition, Direct Relief has made its entire $36 million medical inventory available to partner nonprofit health organizations in the affected areas and tapped at least three pre-positioned emergency medical modules containing $20,000 in medical essentials. These pre-positioned modules were developed in collaboration with partner facilities and placed in 50 communities most at risk for flooding and hurricanes following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

habitat-laflood-car
Floods in Louisiana have placed thousands of families in need of help clearing debris and repairing their homes when water recedes. (Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity)

Habitat for Humanity International is conducting damage assessments with partner organizations, and has Mobile Response Units deployed and Disaster Corps volunteers activated. Additional project updates will be made following assessments and immediate relief response. Four local affiliates were in affected areas, and several current home building projects were damaged in the floods.

Healthcare Ready is coordinating with the American Red Cross, the Louisiana Department of Health and federal partners to provide support and track healthcare operations issues, including coordination of replacing or refilling critical pharmaceutical needs for those displaced by the floods.

HandsOn New Orleans is working on donations and volunteer coordination for Hammond (largest city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana), and providing housing for NCCC and FEMA Corps team members.

Information Technology Disaster Resource Center is currently providing emergency communications and technical assistance in the greater Baton Rouge area. The organization has a team on the ground with a mobile technology unit supporting local and national NGO partners, including the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank’s temporary facilities, which were flooded by 4 feet of water. ITDRC has a remote response team staffing the flood cleanup hotline, along with volunteers from LDS and Chevron.

Louisiana Conference of United Methodist Churches established its Disaster Recovery Ministry. The DRM has assisted with cleaning and gutting homes and is transitioning to its long -term recovery work of rebuilding homes.

Louisiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster are coordinating a number of responses across the state.

Mennonite Disaster Service teams from Alabama on the ground in East Baton Rouge Parish to muck and tear out damaged components of flooded houses. Additional groups from Pennsylvania and Ohio are en route and MDS anticipates transitioning into long-term rebuilding projects in the fall.

Mercy Chefs has teams on site, serving daily meals for survivors, responders and volunteers.

Salvation Army has mobilized disaster relief resources such as canteens (mobile feeding units), clean up kits/hygiene kits, and support personnel to the affected areas. Regional resources have also been mobilized to help respond.

Save the Children has opened four child-friendly spaces at three different evacuation centers in Baton Rouge, providing children with access to structured play and other activities, as well as psychosocial support, under the direction of trained facilitators. Save’s humanitarian response staff and volunteers have provided hygiene and infant care items, children’s clothing, blankets and cribs; toys, coloring books and crayons to families in centers. Staff from the eight Head Start early childhood development programs Save the Children manages in Louisiana are contacting the families of children enrolled in the program to learn if they have been affected and, if so, their needs; and teams are conducting assessments at these Head Start programs to asses any damage and materials needed for them to quickly reopen if they are not currently able to serve children. Save’s emergency preparedness team is also collaborating with Louisiana’s Child Care Resource and Referral agency on damage assessments to child care centers in Baton Rouge and several nearby parishes.

Team Rubicon has an assessment team on the ground and is working with the Louisiana VOAD to begin relief and recovery operations.

Take Action

Donate to CDP’s Gulf Coast Resilience Innovation Fund or through our Network For Good page.

Learn More

See CNN coverage here.

National Weather Service updates here.

Facts & Stats

  • Meteorologist Ryan Maue estimated that 6.9 trillion gallons of rain fell in Louisiana between August 8 and 14.
  • At least 20,000 people have been rescued from waters surrounding homes, cars, and trees.
  • More than $56 million in federal assistance through FEMA was approved during the week following the floods.
  • More than 100,000 residential or commercial structures reported damaged in the Baton Rouge alone.
  • At least 100 roads and highways closed.
  • At least six rivers had record crests, including breaking one record set in 1953.

The Direct Relief story map (below) details the information on frontline healthcare providers affected by flooding in central Louisiana.