PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Gulf states are in for a long road to recovery after Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday as a category 4 hurricane.
As rescue and recovery efforts kick in, help is flowing in from across the country, including from here in Virginia.
“There’s a lot of debris and power lines that are down there,” said Gary LeBlanc, founder of the Portsmouth-based Mercy Chefs, which feeds first responders and victims after natural disasters.
Video shows the devastation in Louisiana, after the storm made landfall on Sunday, causing widespread damage and leaving more than one million people in the dark.
“We just watched in terror on the 16th anniversary of Katrina as this cat 4 roared ashore in south Louisiana,” said LeBlanc.
LeBlanc founded Mercy Chefs after Hurricane Katrina hit his hometown. He plans to fly there on Tuesday.
“16 years after Katrina, we’ve learned a lot,” said LeBlanc. “We’ve done a lot, over 140 deployments. We’re fairly experienced so we’ll put that to the test here over the next few weeks.”
Crews from Virginia Beach-based Operation Blessing are also currently on the road to Louisiana.
“We do that assessment, we talk with our partners, then we try to get into the area, work with local officials to safely enter, conduct meeting with our partners and then set up, so it can be very busy, especially if conditions change,” said Anthony Lloyd, senior director of Operation Blessing U.S. Disaster Relief.
Lloyd spoke with 10 On Your Side from Mississippi as he drove to Louisiana. He says Operation Blessing will use their network of warehouses to move supplies.
“Once we set up, we’ll stay as long as it takes to meet the need that arises, whether that’s mucking and gutting, feeding, tarping and whatnot,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd also said they will work with local churches to make sure people are okay mentally and emotionally, too.
Members of Virginia Task Force 2 are also on the ground, surveying conditions and preparing to help with search and rescue efforts.