JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Members of the Missouri National Guard joined roughly 8,000 other soldiers in Louisiana last week to assist with Hurricane Ida aid and recovery efforts across the state.
Hurricane Ida was recorded as the second most destructive hurricane in history to hit Louisiana, behind only Hurricane Katrina. Along with Ida’s initial destruction upon arrival, a major concern afterwards has been extensive landfall and flash floods. The storm has caused an estimated $50 billion in damages so far, and that number is expected to rise as more devastation is uncovered.
Missouri’s estimated 300 soldiers arrived on Sept. 3 after the category 4 hurricane ripped through the area. The soldiers came from the 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade based out of Kansas City and the 35th Engineer Brigade, which is headquartered in Fort Leonard Wood.
The Missouri soldiers are providing humanitarian support along with equipment and debris removal in Livingston Parish near Baton Rouge and in Houma, a city near New Orleans.
“As our fellow states never fail to come to our aid in times of need, we are proud to answer this call to provide relief to our friends in Louisiana,” Gov. Mike Parson said. “Americans helping Americans and neighbor helping neighbor is what keeps our nation strong.”
“Our professionals in the Missouri National Guard are the best of the best and have the resources, skills and training necessary to help Louisiana recover and come back stronger than ever,” he continued.
The state of Illinois chipped in to help as well, sending an Urban Search and Rescue Team to the area to help with water rescues during post-hurricane flash floods and storm surges.
In all, soldiers have traveled from 11 different states to the area to help with rescues, operational infrastructure, damage management and continuous communication with all parties involved.
The soldiers’ first mission was rescuing stranded individuals through water, air and land searches. According to the Army, those efforts brought 397 people and 65 pets to safety.
The National Guard has also distributed over 2.4 million meals, 117,000 tarps to keep personal items dry and 224,000 sandbags to keep water from intruding into buildings and homes. Additionally, the Guard has provided over 2.7 million liters of water and deployed 17 large water container trucks to provide water in five separate parishes.
The Guard has also distributed generators across the state, incrementally restoring Louisiana’s power grid that has been in jeopardy since the storm first hit. However, it is unclear when the state’s electricity will be fully restored as over 250,000 residents in the Southeast region are still without power.
While the soldiers work to bring families into safety and clear the area of debris, they are being housed in local schools until Sept. 17 when they are expected to return home.