Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday morning as a strong category 4 with sustained wind speeds of 150 miles per hour, 30 miles in a direct line from Friend Ships home base, Port Mercy in Lake Charles, Louisiana. It was one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever enter the Gulf. We are very grateful that all our team and most of our animals (some are yet to be found) are safe but the storm left widespread destruction throughout the region.
The Friend Ships team rode out the storm aboard our ship Challenger. After several hours of relentless winds and pounding rain, the wind uprooted several of our mooring bollards (these are large steel bits that secure ships to the land sunk eight feet in the ground and secured in cement). We tied our ships to these with several lines knowing the force they would be under, hoping the lines would not snap. They did not snap but instead the wind drug these bollards up out of the earth and took off with them and their eight feet of cement, setting six of our seven ships adrift, several sustaining significant damage. As of now, we haven’t gotten them back to port. All our small boats were sunk. Our warehouses, including an aircraft hangar are completely destroyed or severely damaged. All of our electric lines are snapped and on the ground. Crew members lost portions of their roofs and as you can see in the photos we will post, Port Mercy has extensive damage.
To start, we are securing the ships back to the base and as soon as our team is back in place, will be distributing heavy duty vinyl to the community. Next, we will distribute additional goods and provide food to the hurricane victims as we work to restore the immense damage to Port Mercy. Yet, in spite of this trial, the Lord’s hand was and is with us in so many ways and we are so very grateful for His protection and guidance.
The community is hurting. People are hungry, there is no electricity – lines to the city are down. We need generators, we have a large container of food but we need a generator to keep it cold before we lose it all. We will need diesel fuel.
Update – October 10, 2020
In a very unusual move, Hurricane Delta made landfall last night (October 9, 2020) as a Category 2 storm a few miles from where Hurricane Laura came ashore six weeks ago. Our communities in Southwest Louisiana have only recently had power restored, started to return home and make real progress on a return to normalcy.
Now Delta has seriously set the community back by scattering debris, ripping off roof tarps and causing additional damage to already compromised structures. Today we are cleaning up Port Mercy and assessing the best way to assist the community. Thank you for your prayers.
If you would like to help, here’s how:
1. Prayers: For the community and Friend Ships recovery
2. Funds: We almost never ask for financial help but we are in serious need of funds to be able to meet the needs, so many are calling us for help.
3. Goods: If you would like to send goods, please call our office to find out what other items not listed below are needed. (337) 433-5022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hurricane Laura Needs List
Food Service Needs:
- Cooking Oils
- #10 Cans
- Canned Peas
- Canned Green Beans
- Canned Corn
- Canned Carrots
- Baked beans
- Flour 500lbs
- Seasoning bulk sizes
- Poultry Seasoning
- Cajun Seasoning
- Garlic Powder
- Onion powder
- Powdered Chicken base
- Lemon pepper
- Bulk – Eggs
- Bulk – Butter
- Pickles (Relish and sliced)
- Individual Salt/pepper packets
- Hot sauce
- Plates – paper/styrofoam
- Plastic Cups
- Plastic Cutlery
- Paper towels
- Foodservice gloves
- Foil pans/lids (Full-size steam table pans)
- Aluminum Foil – Commercial size
- Press-n-seal plastic wrap
- Trash bags
- Powder drink mix – Gatorade, lemonade, etc.
- Large ziplock bags
- Packaged foods, cereal, dry goods, can foods
- Feminine Products – (Pads & tampons)
- Baby products – Diapers, wipes, etc.
- Paper products: Bathroom tissue, paper towels
- Personal Care items – Men & Women’s Razors, Shaving Cream, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Mouth wash, Sunscreen, Bug Spray, PPE Masks, etc.
- Disinfectants/Cleaning Products – 409 spray, Dutch cleanser, etc.
- Cleaning supplies – Sponges, Scrubbies, etc.
- Safety Products – Eye protection, Earplugs, Work Gloves, etc.
- Cat food / Dog food
- Bottled Water
- Powdered drink mixes (sugar-free as well)
- Rakes (hard rakes)
- Roofing nails, hammers
- NO CLOTHING AT THIS TIME
5. Personnel: We can use construction teams and welders to assist at Port Mercy. We need cooks and people to help with warehousing and distribution. Call our office at (337) 433-5022 if you can help and/or register with the disaster relief form on our website. Click the button below to register.