The infrastructure of Louisiana has not returned to pre-Hurricane Katrina status. Almost half of the Red Cross volunteers from Louisiana are no longer able to volunteer due to personal situations and many were victims themselves of last year's devastating hurricane season. Up to 40 percent of southern Louisiana's population is residing in FEMA trailers that are able to withstand winds of 40 mph, which isn't sufficient to handle hurricane winds.
The National American Red Cross is being proactive for this hurricane season by stockpiling emergency supplies in the Gulf Coast and East Coast that can rapidly be moved in case hurricanes hit any of the area. For Louisiana, the National American Red Cross wants to have 5,000 new disaster volunteers trained that would be able to handle sheltering efforts if a tropical storm or hurricane hits this vulnerable area. These new volunteers would be assigned to different storm damaged states during this year's hurricane season.
New volunteers for the Louisiana effort will need to be able to commit to a two-week deployment and would be given a short notice in which to be at the airport.
All training and travel-related expenses are paid for by the American Red Cross.
Persons interested in becoming a new shelter volunteer with assignment to Louisiana if a storm is predicted to hit are asked to contact the Sioux Empire American Red Cross at 605-336-2448. Training classes will be established to occur prior to Sept. 10.