Arkansans head to Louisiana to assist with Hurricane Ida victims

Severe Weather Coverage

Destruction is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Grand Isle, La. Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. Louisiana residents still reeling from flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Ida scrambled for food, gas, water and relief from the sweltering heat while facing the dispiriting prospect of weeks without electricity to power air conditioners and refrigerators. (Scott Clause/The Daily Advertiser via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The damages of Hurricane Ida have left many Louisiana cities in shambles, but help is one the way with many organizations across Arkansas heading to the Pelican State to help those in need.

As the storm made landfall on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of residents lost power for days. Entergy said Monday that more than 750,000 customers in New Orleans alone were without power.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas dispatched nearly 200 workers to the state Wednesday to help restore power as more than a million Louisiana residents remain without electricity. In addition, the company also are sending power line infrastructure materials to Louisiana cooperatives.

Members from the central Arkansas chapter of Sheep Dog Impact Assistance went to Houma, Louisiana, on Wednesday to help clear houses of wet carpet and drywall.

Two crews from the group will be helping with the aftermath of the Ida storm. The second crew will head to Houma on Thursday and both will return on Sept. 11.

The crews will also be working to clear trees out of roads and provide water at staging areas to other crews who are working to restore damaged areas.

The executive director of the Sheep Dog Central Arkansas chapter, Brent Lewis, says the crews are trained to help in every situation.

“They’re first responders. This is what they do, and they’re veterans, protection is what they do, it’s what they’re bred for,” Lewis explained. “So this gives them a chance to continue service after their military service, of their law enforcement service.”

The city of New Orleans will soon be joined by Red Cross volunteers from Arkansas to help with the relief of the storm.

Retired corrections officer Richard Wimberly is one of the many heading to the Crescent City to help those in need. His Red Cross team will be running an emergency response vehicle.

“People of Louisiana we’re coming down there, we’re trying to get you some relief as much as we can, be patient we’ll be there,” Wimberly said. “We don’t know how long, minimum two weeks. We don’t know how long after that, depends on the situation.”

The Arkansas Red Cross also shared a statement that said they are in coordination with Louisiana emergency management and Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services has opened several shelters across the state to provide lodging, food and comfort for evacuees while they await damage assessment information.

More than 500 Arkansas Army guardsmen have been deployed to Louisiana to help assist with Hurricane Ida relief.

The 142nd field artillery brigade, who are trained to help with high water rescue and recovery operations left Tuesday. The 39th infantry brigade combat team left, who are equipped for route clearance operations left on Wednesday.

A spokesperson with the governor’s office noted that these efforts are made possible by the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a program that facilitates aid between states in times of emergency.

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