In anticipation, Direct Relief places medical preparedness packs with its partner facilities in the region
Hurricane Ida slammed the Gulf Coast Sunday with fury and speed, and it was relentless.
Experts and officials warned the hurricane could be worse than Katrina.
On Saturday, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Hurricane Ida could be Louisiania’s worst direct hit by a hurricane since the 1850s.
As it hit landfall Sunday, Hurricane Ida reportedly was bringing winds of up to 150 mph.
“Hurricane Ida is here. And it’s a Category 4 storm,” a New Orleans TV weather reporter said around noon Central time. “And it’s not going to stop.”
She urged residents to stay inside.
The hurricane is being watched by Direct Relief, the Goleta-based organization that sends aid to disaster victims across the country and around the world. According to directrelief.org, the nonprofit has already placed 17 hurricane preparedness packs with its partner facilities in the areas impacted by the storm.
“The caches include medications and medical supplies commonly requested after disasters, including prescription medications for diabetes and hypertension,” Direct Relief said on its website.
Over the weekend, thousands fled from Louisiana’s Gulf Coast as the state marks the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. There were massive traffic jams as people escaped from New Orleans.
As much as 20 inches of rain could fall on the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, according to the National Weather Service.
Already on Sunday morning, parts of Mississippi were experiencing flooding.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the Category 4 storm grew too fast for a mandatory citywide evacuation.
The city’s residents should leave voluntarily, she said, adding that there could be long power outages for those who decide to stay.
Residents heeded warnings to stay inside and avoid the possibility of flying debris. The streets of New Orleans became empty.
Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent more than 2,000 of its personnel to Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas.
As the storm approached, New Orleans officials pointed to the $14 billion upgrade that the city made to its flood protection system after Hurricane Katrina. They predicted the system would work.
“Be calm in the midst of this storm,” Mayor Cantrell told New Orleans residents after Ida made landfall. “You have everything you need. We will get through this together.”
Information from this story is based on various national media reports and a TV broadcast from New Orleans.