Residents of New Orleans, who are still putting their lives back together eight years on from Hurricane Katrina, have put their own recovery on hold to raise funds for the relief effort after Storm Jude battered parts of the UK.
Concerts have been organised, charity car washes have been set up and fun runs are taking place, all to help get the UK back to normal after the devastation caused over the last day. Funds will be used to replace broken fence panels and roof tiles, and to fly volunteer teams of “Storm survivors” to the UK, who will put their experiences in the wake of Katrina to use in the clean-up effort.
“I lived through Katrina and I survived, so I know what these people are going through and will do anything I can to help.” said Dominique, one of the volunteers, “Whether it’s picking up wheelie bins that have blown over, searching for recycling boxes that have blown away or sweeping up leaves, it doesn’t matter, I’ll do whatever I can.”
The aid cannot come soon enough for some, says Andrew Lewis of Trowbridge, “The sight of the contents of my recycling boxes scattered around the street has left me severely traumatised and I’ve had to call work and tell them that I won’t be in for the rest of the week. I saw a two litre coke bottle blowing down the road yesterday. A coke bottle. We need help desperately.”
Once the volunteers arrived even these hardy souls were shocked by the scale of the devastation.
“After Hurricane Katrina I was homeless for days and many of my friends lost their lives. I dug through the wreckage of my house with my bare hands, not knowing whether my children were alive or dead.” explained Dominique, “I thought that had prepared me for anything, but the sight of the A350 partially blocked by a medium sized tree that had fallen over was too much and I just broke down in tears.”