Salvation Army Responds in Wake of Hurricane Laura

Emergency responders from the Gulf Coast are responding with basic necessities. New England teams will join if they’re needed.

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – As Hurricane Laura slams the Gulf Coast, leaving destruction in its path, disaster response groups like the Salvation Army are responding.

Chris Farrand, with the Salvation Army’s Southern New England office, says the first few days after a storm can be chaotic as they work to figure out which areas were hit hardest and who needs the most help.

Farrand says, “There’s confusion.  Sometimes, communication goes down.  You’re really just trying to figure out ‘how do I get there as fast as I can.’”

He says the Salvation Army has 44 mobile canteens, staged and rolling out right now, looking for people in need of help.

Farrand says, “There are warehouses staged in Texas and other neighboring states where we have literally tens of thousands of meals that we’re prepared to deploy.  We have tens of thousands of bottles of water.  We have blankets.  We have kit supplies, clothing resources.”

He says the disaster response is made even more complicated by the ongoing COVID crisis.

Farrand says, “How do you feed people when you can’t get closer than six feet?  How do you support people with emotional and spiritual care?  How are we going to set up some kind of sheltering model that fits in this wild COVID world?  How do we keep people safe?”

He says the response starts with local teams, already in the area, so they haven’t sent anyone from southern New England just yet, but they’re ready to answer the call.

Farrand says, “We’re on standby maybe a couple weeks before we’re called down, and we’ll be monitoring, but we’re very prepared and ready to go to help.”

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2020

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