Florence: Living United in the Face of Disaster

United Way of Southeast Louisiana stands with the communities affected by Hurricane Florence. Tragically, 32 people lost their lives across North and South Carolina and Virginia.  As of Tuesday morning, a half a million homes and businesses are still without power. Reported property damage is increasing, and flooding continues to spread as waters rise.

In the wake of Florence, we’ve witnessed heroic action as those in need seek assistance from first responders, disaster response agencies, neighbors, family, and friends. Volunteers are sheltering those with no place to go, feeding those without a warm meal, and clothing those in tattered, wet garb. Across the country, generous individuals, businesses, and organizations are coming forward to aid in immediate relief and long-term recovery efforts.

Unfortunately, this is a story with which Southeast Louisiana is all too familiar. We recall the Great Flood of 2016, the devastation of Isacc, and the horrors of Katrina. Years later, families continue to struggle to return home and make ends meet after losing everything at the hands of mother nature. Collectively, the price tag for rebuilding would be insurmountable would it not have been for the generosity of neighboring communities who recognized the need and stepped up to make a difference.

We know the road to recovery is long. We recognize that it will take years for families to recover from the devastation of Florence’s catastrophic flooding and damaging winds. As the initial and short-term relief ends, the desperate need for resources to fund mid- to long-term recovery will take hold. Investing in those efforts now will build stronger communities for all for decades to come.   

United Way of Southeast Louisiana created the Florence Recovery Fund to provide a giving option to the many of you who have asked how can we help. As we continue to think of our friends on the East Coast, I encourage you to consider a gift to this fund, 100 percent of which will be sent to United Ways in the affected areas to support recovery/rebuilding efforts.  

I'll leave you with words of a dear colleague, “What makes us able to overcome the very worst things that can happen, to grow better and stronger and not be beaten by incredible adversity, is that we help each other, that we lean on each other, and that we Live United.”

Jamene Dahmer
SR VP, Long-Term Recovery
United Way of Southeast Louisiana