As Hurricane Ida made landfall, residents across the region were advised to shelter in place. According to MSNBC, Gov. John Bel Edwards urged Louisiana residents to hunker down for at least the next 72 hours.
Earlier Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service for New Orleans echoed the governor’s warning, urging people to shelter in place as the hurricane moves through the area. Dangerous conditions were expected to last through Monday.
But as of Sunday evening, thousands in Louisiana were without power due to damage to Entergy’s transmission system. WDSU reported that all of New Orleans was without power. The number of reported outages continued to rise, with close to 750,000 people without service. Officials estimate it could take up to three weeks to restore service in some areas.
Covenant House in New Orleans has provided shelter for 60 residents, including young families. They were also providing support to unhoused youth ages 16-22.
While people have been advised to shelter in place while the storm rages, but Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services shared information for updates on community shelters.
In Mississippi, multiple counties listed shelter openings for those unable to evacuate. Self-serve sandbag stations were also listed in Harrison, Hancock, Hinds, and Yazoo counties. State materials suggest public shelters should be encouraged as a “last resort” due to the ongoing surge of the COVID-19 delta variant.
Mutual Aid Networks across the region are putting out calls for volunteers and taking names from people and groups needing support. Imagine Water Works is a Louisiana based effort raising funds to support relief efforts by local residents in impacted communities.
The Mutual Aid Disaster Relief Network released a sign-up sheet for those needing assistance.
“The Mutual Aid Disaster Relief Network is comprised of organizers in the southeastern U.S., Gulf Coast states, and across the country, who are partnering with local mutual aid and community groups and volunteers on the ground in Louisiana to support a grassroots disaster relief response and communal recovery,” read the form.
Mutual aid support lists were being widely shared Sunday with organizers mobilizing across the region, with people sharing mutual aid donation links and other ways of sending direct support.
Volunteers with the New Orleans chapter of Southern Solidarity remained in town to assist with relief support and providing food to unhoused people. Another Gulf Is Possible is a rapid response network across the Gulf Coast taking donations to distribute to families and communities.
The Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund team was raising money and collecting donations of diapers and wipes to distribute post-storm. Emergency blood donations were also being requested in Mississippi.
Mutual Aid support networks have become increasingly more commonplace since the start of the pandemic. Solidarity, not charity, is the motto of many groups. Mutual Aid is a way for communities to build collectively and provide support in times of need.
“We will distribute donations directly to indigenous, black, and brown frontline folks impacted by Hurricane Ida and groups who currently don’t have online donations capacity, as well as directly to individual families impacted by the storm,” read the Another Gulf Is Possible’s website.