Emergency Update: Helping Louisiana Communities Recover in Tornadoes’ Devastating Wake

Six tornadoes tore through Louisiana on Feb. 7, leaving trails of devastation that stretch as far as 23 miles across.

Thirty-nine people suffered injuries and nearly 800 homes and more than 40 businesses were damaged or destroyed across five parishes, according to state officials.

The Ninth Ward in New Orleans East, an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was among the hardest hit regions after the recent tornadoes. At least 25 people were injured there and as many as half the area’s buildings were damaged. That includes several homes that were destroyed in Katrina and had since been rebuilt.

Soon after the tornadoes struck, Direct Relief made contact with city officials in New Orleans and health providers throughout the state.

In response to a request from EXCELth Family Health Center in New Orleans, located 1.5 miles from a hard-hit area, Direct Relief sent a hurricane prep pack with enough medicine and medical supplies to treat 100 patients for up to five days. Subsequent shipments have contained another 800 lbs. of requested medicine and hygiene items for people displaced by the storm.

Supplies from Direct Relief arrive at EXCELth in Louisiana (Photo courtesy of EXCELth, Inc.)

Dr. Monir Shalaby, supervising medical director of EXCELth, Inc., described a nearly two-mile-long stretch of homes that had been destroyed. As a result, the clinic saw an influx of patients who had lost their belongings, including their medicine. The tornadoes also damaged the homes of several clinic staff.

“I can’t tell you how much it’s being appreciated,” Shalaby said, speaking of Direct Relief’s assistance.

The tornadoes follow a series of weather-related emergencies in Louisiana, including historic flooding last year that prompted Direct Relief to deploy 139 shipments of emergency medical aid totaling more than $2.89 million (wholesale).

Further Reading

Louisiana tornado tally: 6 different tornadoes struck, officials say

The tally is in: A total of six tornadoes hit Louisiana on Tuesday (Feb. 7), with tracks as long as 23.3 miles and speeds as high as 150 mph, according to preliminary inspection information by the National Weather Service released Thursday.

John Bel Edwards declares state of emergency in Louisiana after tornadoes

Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency in Louisiana Tuesday (Feb. 7) after tornadoes and other storms hit much of South Louisiana including Ascension, Livingston, Orleans, St. James, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes. “I am heartbroken to once again see Louisiana families suffering in the wake of devastating tornadoes today,” said Edwards in a written statement.

Tornadoes touch down, wreak havoc in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS — Tornadoes touched down in southern Louisiana Tuesday, wiping houses from their foundations and downing power lines a severe line of weather moving across the region. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency, according to a spokesperson Tuesday afternoon.