PHILADELPHIA – August 24, 2016 – The catastrophic flood devastating Louisiana – now considered the worst disaster to strike the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy in 2011 – is prompting calls for help from thousands of people who have lost everything they own.
With 31 inches of rain falling on Livingston Parish in just 15 hours, 13 people have died and hundreds have been injured. Many have lost homes. More than 30,000 people have been rescued, as well as 1,400 pets.
Keeping Babies Safe (KBS), a national, non-profit organization that provides safe cribs to needy families, received many desperate phones calls from relief organizations in Livingston Parish, asking for hundreds of cribs to accommodate the growing need.
Based on current funding, and restrictions on how some grants can be used, KBS was able to immediately provide 61 cribs, courtesy of the FISH Foundation, Inc. of Plainsboro, NJ.
Today, KBS President Joyce Davis was in Philadelphia, overseeing the shipment from a warehouse to Baton Rouge. All cribs were a rush order, she said, as families can’t wait.
“We are deeply concerned about where some of these displaced families are sleeping,” Davis said. “We have heard many reports of large families sleeping in crammed motel rooms with all their belongings, or sharing limited space in the homes of families and friends. These are not safe places for infants to sleep. After all the tragedy in Louisiana, we can’t bear any more tragedy if a baby is injured in these makeshift living conditions.”
Davis said she also is providing safe sleep tips for the displaced families, noting her organization’s primary objective is informing and educating new parents.
Davis said she hopes the 61 cribs are the first donation from KBS to Livingston Parish, as she expects the need to grow as people move into new homes and shelters in the upcoming weeks and months. She hopes for additional funding from donors to make it possible for her to continue this emergency mission.
“We all remember what it was like with Hurricane Sandy five years ago, and we still hear horror stories of babies who don’t have a safe place to sleep,” said Davis, whose non-profit is based in New Jersey. “The story of this Louisiana flood is not going away overnight. KBS, and other relief organizations, will play a huge role in the recovery effort.”
Davis urges supporters to consider donating to the cause at KeepingBabiesSafe.org, stressing the urgency.