Hurricane Laura: Facts, FAQs, and How to Help

Hurricane Laura, the 12th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, early on August 27 as a Category 4 storm as emergency responders were already facing unprecedented demands due to wildfires and other ongoing disaster and recovery efforts. As the storm approached, an estimated 20 million people were in Hurricane Laura’s path, and 1.5 million in Texas and Louisiana were under evacuation orders. Hurricane Laura caused a 15-foot high storm surge, dropped 10 inches of rain in some areas and produced four tornadoes. 

Save the Children is the national leader in protecting children in emergencies. Our response teams have been on the front lines meeting children’s most critical needs in every major U.S. disaster since Hurricane Katrina. 

Here's what you need to know about Hurricane Laura, including how to help children, families and communities that could be impacted by the storm.

FAQs:

What do you need to know about Hurricane Laura?
How has Hurricane Laura affected children and families?
How does Save the Children help families and children prepare for a hurricane?
How is Save the Children responding to Hurricane Laura?
How is Save the Children's response impacted by COVID-19?
What is Save the Children's history of responding to hurricanes?
How can I help children and families impacted by Hurricane Laura?

What do you need to know about Hurricane Laura?

According to Louisiana Govenor John Bel Edwards, Hurricane Laura was the most powerful hurricane to strike the state, surpassing Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Sadly, as of September 8, Hurricane Laura has been responsible for the death of 31 people in the United States,  including a 14-year-old girl, as well as nearly two dozen people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Many of these deaths have been attributed to carbon monoxide posioning from generator use and heat related illness due to the high heat index which peaked at 110 degrees.

How has Hurricane Laura affected children and families? 

Hurricanes can cause widespread flooding, damage vital infrastructure, including homes and schools, and impact communities for years to come. 

Hundreds of thousands of people near the Gulf Coast braced for Hurricane Laura as their communities continued to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Residents in portions of the Texas and Louisiana coasts, many of them children, had been ordered to evacuate as of Tuesday, August 25. 

Widespread evacuations, combined with the potential displacement of already vulnerable communities, puts children at grave risk and paves the way for one disaster to layer upon another.

How does Save the Children help families and children prepare for a hurricane?

Save the Children is the only national response agency that has children at the core of everything we do. Through the generous support of our donors, we help keep children safe before, during and after disasters strike, and are there for kids for the long term.

Our experts have compiled hurricane preparedness tips to help protect children from distress during and after disasters. 

How is Save the Children responding to Hurricane Laura?

Having pre-positioned critical supplies before the storm, Save the Children’s emergency response team and local program staff in Louisiana and Texas are mobilizing to deliver displaced families the essential items they need to continue to care for their children – including hygiene kits, diapers, wipes and cribs. These supplies also include masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies to ensure families have what they need to stay safe in the aftermath of the storm and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

How is Save the Children's response impacted by COVID-19?

Save the Children has adapted our programs to be able to continue to deliver essential support to disaster affected vulnerable children, even during the time of COVID.  In order to comply with local health guidelines and to keep our staff, volunteers and partners as safe as possible, our emergency teams have prepared response programs that, if needed, we are able to deliver in collaboration with an extensive network of local partners along the Gulf Coast.  

To ensure that we are ready to help support children’s needs, we've prepositioned critical personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, including facemasks, hand sanitizer, soap and cleaning supplies. Our standard disaster supplies to help children and families, including children’s program kits, hygiene supplies, diapers, baby wipes, pop-up cribs, umbrella strollers, are also prepositioned. 

What is Save the Children's history of responding to hurricanes?

Just three years ago, in August 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas. The most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, Hurricane Harvey triggered epic flooding that forced families from their homes.

More than 3 million children were affected by Hurricane Harvey, which displaced over 1 million people and damaged hundreds of thousands of homes in a path of destruction that stretched more than 300 miles. Save the Children’s Emergency Response Team deployed to Texas in advance of the Category 4 storm to meet children and families’ immediate needs. In the days that followed, we implemented child-friendly spaces, which provided safe and protective play areas for children at seven evacuation shelters throughout the state. We also distributed thousands of child-focused supplies, including cribs, strollers diapers, books and hygiene kits to families in need.

Since 2005, we have supported more than 4 million children affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters in the U.S. 

How can I help children and families impacted by Hurricane Laura? 

A donation to the Gulf Coast Hurricanes Relief Fund will help support the urgent needs of children and families impacted by Hurricane Laura.

Learn more about Save the Children’s natural disaster response and emergency relief programs across the United States.

Nobody knows when the next crisis will strike, but your support helps Save the Children provide assistance in the critical first hours and days of an emergency when children need us most. When generous people like you make your 100% tax-deductible gift, children's lives are saved and their futures are brighter.

Updated October 20, 2020

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