Louisiana struggles to recover after Laura, Delta hurricane landfalls

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Oct. 11 (UPI) — After being lashed by both Laura and Delta within the span of just a few weeks, Lake Charles, La., is struggling to recover from the damage, and with national attention focusing elsewhere, some residents and officials are worried they will not receive the aid they require to rebuild.

Delta made landfall on Friday near Creole, just 13 miles from where Laura made landfall only 43 days prior. As it struck the coast with 100 mph winds, Delta left a path of destruction in the form of flooded streets and damaged buildings and homes.

No fatalities have been reported due to the storm as of yet, compared with 32 total deaths reported due to Laura.

Early Sunday, a CSX train derailed in Gwinnett County, Ga, after heavy rains from the remnants of Hurricane Delta.

The train’s engineer and conductor were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, according to a new release by Gwinnet County Fire and Emergency Services, which responded to the incident at 1:43 a.m. Crews found 38 rail cars derailed and several engulfed in flames shortly after arrival.

Delta, which held an AccuWeather RealImpactâ„¢ score of 2, was the 10th storm to make landfall in the United States this hurricane season, breaking the record previously set in 1916. It was also the first hurricane named after the Greek alphabet to make landfall in the U.S. The 2020 season has become unprecedented in many aspects, and Lake Charles is now left to rebuild from the aftermath of back-to-back landfalls.

While Delta may have been a weaker storm than Category 4 Laura, which held a RealImpactâ„¢ score of 4, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said Delta brought more flooding to the costal town, and hundreds of homes that already took on damage from Laura were impacted by the flooding.

“Add Laura and Delta together and it’s just absolutely unprecedented and catastrophic,” Hunter told The Associated Press. “We are very concerned that with everything going on in the country right now that this incident may not be on the radar nationally like it should be.”

On Saturday, 9,400 people were being sheltered by the state. According to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, however, only 935 of those people evacuated from Delta, and the rest were still evacuated from Laura.

The Mutual Aid Response Network Imagine, a group of Louisiana residents led by Water Works, is providing more unique necessities to those affected, including chainsaws, box fans, tools, food, clothing, mobility devices, laundry services, mini-fridges to be used for breastmilk and medicine, activities for children, slow cookers, grills, and more, while prioritizing the funding, leadership, and safety of Black, Indigenous and people of color. So far they have raised more than $71,000 of their $250,000 goal.

“[The impacts from Laura] will surely slow down rebuilding efforts and make things slower for recovering from Delta,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said of the two hurricanes. “It likely requires a second round of rebuilding for some things that might have been done already, and could have brought more damage to those areas that already saw the damage from Laura.”


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