Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: Disaster and Deliverance

How You Can Help

Reports continue to arrive on the status of the region hit by Hurricane Katrina. The destruction is completely devestating; more than experienced in years, more than September 11 if one discounts the deaths. There is no real casualty list or number of dead. Reports indicate that dead bodies are being left where they are, on the side of the road, in their homes, floating in the water and any number of places because there are no places to put them. The living get first priority.

The reality of this situation will not be truly apparent for days if not weeks as loved ones make reports and try to find their missing family members. There are probably many citizens who were elderly or had no family that would worry and report them.

Current reports indicate that the operation to plug a major levy has failed and they are expecting over 9 ft of water to flood the east side. Army Corp of Engineers is on its way with a convoy of trucks carrying giant Jersey barriers to be dropped into the hole and then covered with tons of sand in hopes of sealing the hole. Without it, the city of New Orleans may disappear beneath the sea. The American Atlantis. The mayor and governor have ordered everyone to leave the area, but other organizations indicate that the only way in and out of the city is by helicopter or boat. If the levies cannot be repared, we will be hearing many more reports of death.

Major looting was occuring by early Monday and continued through the day. Martial law was declared and SWAT teams were deployed to support the National Guard and local police. Many officers indicated that they were letting looters go, more concerned with the rescue mission and evacuating stranded people. Although, some officers were stopping looters who were not doing "basic essentials" looting, but were stealing televisions, DVD players and other non-essentials.

Sometime during the evening, a police station reported two men attacking them with AK 47s. Officers gave chase, but lost the men when they ran back into the French Quarter.

Horrible stories of despair accompanied by amazing stories of rescue continue to be heard. Tens of thousands of civilians did not heed the warning to leave and now are stranded without potable water, food and shelter. People are being pulled from their roof tops, rescuers are cutting holes in roofs to pull people from attics, people are floating on makeshift rafts.

Help Hurricane Katrina Survivors and Rescue Workers

The Red Cross is now asking for donations and volunteers. There are reports that the phone line for phone in donations and volunteers are overwhelmed and ringing busy. They ask for your patience and that you continue to try calling.

If you can't afford to donate cash, time and blood are the next two things you can offer. If you are in Kansas City, you can contact the local Red Cross here. According to the national site, if you are going to volunteer for Hurricane Katrina relief, you will receive a two day training course and need to be ready to be gone for at least three weeks. But don't let that deter you. The local Red Cross most likely will need assistance at local offices and warehouses to sort and send info, people and supplies.

The Kansas City office is located at:

American Red Cross
Greater Kansas City Chapter

211 W. Armour Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64111 USA
Phone 816-931-8400
Fax 816-531-7306

If you are not in the Kansas City Area but are still interested in finding out about volunteering, you can find your local Red Cross here. If you are volunteering, you will need to complete this PDF form, fax, mail or take it with your when you go to the office.

If you can't donate money and can't volunteer, you can donate blood. The Red Cross was already reporting a shortage of blood a week ago and asking for donations. This disaster must surely task their supplies. Donate blood. Find a list of places to donate in the Kansas City Area here.

The next two days, blood donations are being accepted at the following locations:

Thursday, September 1
21350 W. 153rd St.
Olathe, KS
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

14001 E. 32nd St.
Independence, MO
4:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Friday, September 2
Shawnee Civic Center
Johnson Drive & Pflumm
Shawnee, KS
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Valley View Bank
7500 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

The following criteria should be met when giving blood:

If you're 17 years old or older, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health, you can share your life with others. In fact, your one donation can save up to three lives because each component of your blood is used for specialized medical treatments.

Not in Kansas City? Go here to find your area blood donation region and locations.

As assessments are completed, the Red Cross will determine additional material needs, such as clothing, flashlights, batteries, basic toiletries and other needs will be noted. Other charitable organizations may be taking material donations as well. I suggest that you go through your closets for good, softly worn clothes that can be donated. Blankets, tents and other "survival" gear may be of assistance as well. Pick up a flashlight or some batteries or both here or there as you can afford it. These needs will be a continuing for weeks. Relief workers may also need items for their own survivability.

In the near future, there may also be a need for items for rescue and recovery dogs that will certainly be used in the coming weeks to locate survivors or the dead. Like the flashlights and batteries, you can buy a bag of treats, toys and other small items that will be needed for the dogs. Other things that will be useful, considering the time of year and conditions, will be fly and tick spray or ointment for animals. An organization currently involved in the animal rescue efforts is Noah's Wish and they provide a list of things that can be donated.

Another thing that you can do is conserve gas this weekend by limiting your driving. Diesel in particular because it is needed to run generators at hospitals, shelters and central command locations. The President has already authorized the release of some reserves because of the devestation to oil rigs and refineries in the area of the storm. You should also be aware that Kansas City Gas Stations are predicting gas to be at 2.90 to 3.00 by Saturday.

Save the gas and save your gas money to give to the rescue efforts.

Stay tuned for what, where and how you can assist.


Go here for a complete list of charities that are taking monetary and material assistance for Hurricane Katrina relief.

(hat tip: Egyptian Sandmonkey )


If you came from another blog, I will continue to aggregate local and national relief operations. Look for "current" postings.

Join us in Prayer for all those affected and for the brave men and women who are helping with the rescue efforts.

Dear Father in heaven, in the powerful Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, I beg You to lift Your hand and lay it on those suffering from Hurricane Katrina. I pray that You show Your grace and mercy - healing the sick and injured, giving Your protection, strengthening men and women to help each other, and forbidding the lawless to do major harm. I ask You, Father, to intercede on behalf of emergency workers, police, firefighters, and our national Guard. I implore You to grant them safety and health as they work to ease pain and rebuild from the devastation.

You, Lord, are El Shaddai - God Almighty and All-Sufficient - You can provide all that is needed. Your arm is strong to save, and Your love endures forever. Your Presence is to be desired above everything, and Your patience is indeed bountiful. I entreat You to display Your glory by Your mercy and Your providence for the citizens of this country. You have richly blessed us, Lord, and I pray You will bless us still.

Give us strength and unity, let us come alongside our neighbors and show the world how Your country displays courage and love to our own. Open our hearts and our hands that we may comfort, heal, nourish, and rebuild. Please, Father, let this draw us to You - to rely on Your strength, to trust in Your goodness and Your plan, and to proclaim the humble love of Your Beloved Son to people who so desperately need it.

It is in the Name of Jesus the Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that I offer this prayer.


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