Hurricane Laura left behind immense destruction after landfall in southwestern Louisiana, just shy of being classified as a Category 5 storm, making it the strongest storm so far in the "hyperactive" 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.
Laura's powerful punch was projected to cause $25 billion to 30 billion in total damage, AccuWeather estimated ahead of the storm's landfall.
This estimate includes damage to homes and businesses as well as their contents and cars, job and wage losses, infrastructure damage, auxiliary business losses, medical expenses and closures. The estimates also account for the costs of power outages to businesses and individuals and for economic losses because of highway closures and evacuations, as well as extraordinary government expenses for cleanup operations.
As residents start to rebuild, organizations are on the ground helping victims, and they could use your help.
Food, clothing and supplies might be the first thing people think to donate; however, cash donations are the best, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
When items are donated, volunteers have to divert their attention to separating, distributing, storing and now sanitizing. Whereas monetary donations are the most flexible and can be used immediately in response to a crisis, allowing the organization to purchase exactly what is needed, when it is needed.
But before giving money, do some research to make sure the organization is reputable. Charity Navigator and CharityWatch have lists of dozens of highly rated charities able and ready to assist with the help of your donations.
AccuWeather has partnered with the Red Cross to help those in Louisiana and Texas by providing medical services and aiding in relief efforts. To protect survivors living in shelters from the spread of the coronavirus, the Red Cross will not accept donations of food, clothes or other supplies. All donations made via AccuWeather.com will go to The Red Cross to help hurricane victims and the affected outlying areas.
A local organization, The Cajun Navy, a nonprofit, citizen-led disaster response team, has helped perform rescue missions as well as distribute critical supplies. The most urgent needs are for cleaning materials, rubber boots, insect spray, bleach, wipes, gloves, masks and disinfectant. You may also make a monetary donation.
— Official Louisiana Cajun Navy (@LouisianaCNavy) August 27, 2020
The Houston Food Bank mostly needs volunteers to help sort, clean and pack food. The demand for food assistance from the organization has increased by nearly 180 percent since the pandemic, a spokeswoman said, and they anticipate demand rising even more as a result of this disaster. The best way to help the organization meet that demand is to donate money. Every $1 you donate provides three meals.
As TX preps for Laura, HFB is committed to providing relief after the storm. We've prepped pallets & identified partners to serve as disaster sites.
⛈️ Outages = longer response time to tweets
☎️ 832-369-9390 for food assistance
📍 https://t.co/cW5kndToip for ways to help pic.twitter.com/smM8vxn9CT
— Houston Food Bank (@HoustonFoodBank) August 26, 2020
The Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADR) is working with Texas government officials to help evacuees settle into local hotels and take shelter from the storm. Donations will be distributed in the form of clothing, PPE as well as hygiene kits. The ADR is also asking for volunteers here.
Build a Care Kit for families impacted by Hurricane Laura. It's an incredible way to support those who've been devastated by this storm and lost everything. Plus it's easy and you can help out from the safety and comfort of your home. For all info, go to https://t.co/hN5R7KOKSA. pic.twitter.com/ZQoy1jwEbK
— Austin Disaster Relief Network (@adrntx) August 27, 2020
Below is a list of charities helping Hurricane Laura victims:
Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.