I got the following from my rector's blog, and he found out from fellow Episcoblogger Sarah Dylan Breuer: it's an effort by concerned bloggers to raise awareness and funds for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. I'm glad to join in. Episcopal Relief and Development is one of many organizations responding and I encourage those who read this blog to consider a gift toward the effort.
ERD Responds to Hurricane Katrina
[Episcopal Relief and Development]
As Hurricane Katrina leaves behind devastation in Florida and Louisiana, and closes in on Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, Episcopal Relief and Development has mobilized in support of communities affected by this disaster.
After tearing through Florida on Friday, the Category 4 hurricane regained force over the Gulf of Mexico, with winds topping 145 mph.
This morning, Katrina touched down again, just east of New Orleans, Louisiana. Hurricane-force winds caused a path of destruction 250 miles across. A million New Orleans residents avoided harm by obeying a mandatory citywide evacuation.
Seventy percent of the coastal city is below sea level, and is protected from flooding by levees and pumps. After pumps failed in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, filling the streets with six feet of water, dozens of people had to be rescued from the roofs of their houses.
Katrina is over Mississippi this afternoon. Storm surges in Gulfport, Mississippi have already plunged the city under ten feet of water. Winds tore the roofs off buildings in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Disaster officials will begin assessing the damage to Louisiana and Mississippi today.
Hurricane Katrina is one of the most destructive hurricanes ever to hit the US. Experts estimate that it could cause between $10 and $25 billion worth of damage. If the higher assessments are confirmed, Katrina will be the most expensive hurricane in US history.
On behalf of Episcopalians, ERD has sent emergency funds immediately to the Diocese of Mississippi. This emergency assistance will help vulnerable people whose homes are destroyed or severely damaged. ERD support will help the diocese provide aid to community members through two mobile response trailers, which are equipped with supplies like chainsaws and generators to assist in the recovery.
We are waiting to hear what kind of aid is most needed in Louisiana. We have also offered emergency assistance to dioceses likely to be affected as the storm moves inland, including Alabama and Tennessee. Forecasters also warn of the risk of high winds, flooding, and scattered tornadoes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
We offer our prayers for the people affected by this disaster--those whose homes are under 10 feet of water, those who have lost family members, and those whose businesses have been blown down and swept away. Please join us in praying for people affected by Hurricane Katrina.
To make a contribution to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina, please donate to the US Hurricane Fund by credit card via this page or by calling 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.
Episcopal Relief and Development, an independent 501(c) 3 organization, saves lives and builds hope in communities around the world. We provide emergency assistance in times of crisis and rebuild after disasters. We enable people to climb out of poverty by offering long-term solutions in the areas of food security and health care, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.