As the temperatures rise to near 90 degrees and the humidity becomes "almost unbearable," Convoy of Hope's Ethan Forhetz says what the people of Louisiana need now, more than anything, is prayer for the quick restoration of power.
However, Forhetz says, it could be days and possibly much longer than that before power is restored in the wake of Hurricane Ida, which passed through Louisiana over the weekend as a pounding Category 4 storm with winds clocked at more than 150 mph.
"For now, the heat is the big problem going forward here, and there is no place to for people to get relief," says Forhetz, Convoy of Hope's vice president of public engagement and national spokesperson, now on the ground in Louisiana with a team of more than 20 from Convoy.
"No air conditioners are working; you can't go to stores," he says. "Everything is shut down. The humidity is oppressive. People can get in their cars and turn their A/C on, but what will they be able to do when they run out of gas? You can't get any more."
"We are encouraging people to pray for the power to be restored quickly because it's the first thing they need to get their lives back together," Forhetz says. "There are power crews down here, but the task of restoring power will be monumental. Power lines are down everywhere you turn, and it's a mess just to get through."
Convoy of Hope has set up its main headquarters in Kenner, Louisiana, handing out truckloads of supplies including water, food and building materials. Forhetz says people began lining up at 6 a.m. on Tuesday to receive the supplies, and that "hundreds of cars" had been through the parking lot at Bayou Blue Assemblies of God church.
Initially, Convoy sent 19 "emergency vehicles" toward the disaster area, but Forhetz says more are on the way.
The volunteers from churches who have been helping Convoy hand out supplies have held up well, considering the heat, he says.
"We can't say enough about these people, and it shows their love for God and others," Forhetz says. "They have their own problems with their own homes being badly damaged, yet they are out here doing the work of the Lord. Pray for them and for us to keep doing what the Lord has tasked us to do in this crisis."
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