Gov. John Bel Edwards has directed the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) to lead a statewide donation drive to help Hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico. Maria’s hurricane force winds whipped through the island and knocked out most forms of communication, while heavy rain caused severe flooding and has put a major dam at risk of failure. Thousands have been left without power or access to basic survival provisions like food, water and medication.
"We must work together during these difficult times to help those in great need,” said Gov. Edwards. “Puerto Rican officials say the island is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis if help does not arrive soon. I am asking everyone in Louisiana who can to once again support those facing tremendous adversity. We know how difficult the long road to recovery can be. We are looking for basic items to help the people of Puerto Rico begin that process.”
Gov. Edwards also released a video encouraging all Louisianans who are able to participate in the donation drive. Click here to view the governor’s video message.
The state will begin collecting these items through Wednesday, October 11:
You can a list of collection sites in all 64 parishes here: http://gov.louisiana.gov/PuertoRico. The donation drive may continue in the future with additional items should that support be needed.
It is important to only donate the items on the list. Donation drives, at times, can cause more burden for a disaster area if a planned system is not used from start to finish. Keeping the initial statewide drive limited to specific items will make shipping the donations easier and will speed the delivery of the items to the people of Puerto Rico.
"It is difficult to see our neighbors go through some of the same heartbreak we have felt in the past,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “The support of others has helped Louisiana recover from previous events. This is a chance for all of us to share our compassion with others.”
The Louisiana Army National Guard (LANG) will handle collecting the donated items and transporting them to Puerto Rico. LANG has previously helped with this type of drive after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America.
"It is an honor to be part of this humanitarian mission and come to the assistance of the people of Puerto Rico," said Major General Glenn H. Curtis, Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard. "The outpouring of support Louisiana received after Katrina was tremendous and life changing. This mission lies at the very core of the beliefs and principles we uphold and defend."
Find more tips on weather and preparedness on GOHSEP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can receive emergency alerts on most smartphones and tablets by downloading the new Alert FM App. It is free for basic service. The Get A Game Plan App is another resource available to help you and your family prepare for any type emergency. You download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at www.getagameplan.org.