Hurricane Ida moved away from Cuba on August 28th, while picking up speed as it barreled through the Gulf of Mexico.
As predicted, Hurricane Ida became a Category 4 Hurricane, and made landfall near Port Fourchon in Louisiana, USA, on Sunday 29th August. The wind speeds were as high as 150 mph, according to the United States National Hurricane Center. This is the fourth major weather event to strike Louisiana since August 2020. Hurricane Ida also hit the state on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Citizens in New Orleans were asked to evacuate the vicinity. Initial estimates are that over 1,000,000 people are without power. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has said that this is one of the strongest hurricanes to hit Louisiana since at least the 1850s.
Airlink was in early discussions with our airline and nonprofit disaster response partners and received early indications of airlift needs.
Even before the hurricane made landfall, and working with partners Operation BBQ Relief and United Airlines, Airlink provided its first flights of this response for two responders who would pick up mass BBQ cooking equipment and drive the mobile cooking unit to Louisana to set up a feeding station in anticipation of need. Many more responders are on their way as Airlink works with partners Project HOPE, Empact Northwest, Fuel Relief Fund, as well as United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines to get critical aid to where it is needed.
On the ground assessments suggest the following priority needs:
- Search & Rescue,
- Medical teams and supplies to bolster local systems,
- Feeding Stations, and
- Flooding Clean-Up
Based on past experience responding to hurricanes and other weather events of this sort in the USA and beyond, Airlink anticipates that we will be supporting rebuilding and recovery efforts for the next two years, if not longer, and will likely provide over 500 flights for responders and recovery teams, over that timeframe.
Airlink received the kind and enthusiastic support of ‘Extreme Makeover’ and HGTV start Ty Pennington who urged people to support Airlink’s work.