Home Emergency Management News Louisiana Flooding: Worst U.S. Disaster Since Hurricane Sandy?

Louisiana Flooding: Worst U.S. Disaster Since Hurricane Sandy?


Red Cross: Flooding Matches Superstorm Sandy in Severity

Devastating floods that hit Louisiana this month have left at least 13 people dead and impacted at least 40,000 homes. The majority of flood damage occurred in five parishes in the southeast region of the state.

The parishes most affected by the historic rains include East Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa.

2016 Louisiana flood map, affected parishes
2016 Louisiana flood map, affected parishes

According to the Red Cross, Louisiana took on 6.9 trillion gallons of rain – enough to fill 10.4 million Olympic pools – between August 8 and 14. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called the rains and resulting flooding "unprecedented" and deployed more than 1,000 Louisiana National Guard troops to aid in recovery.

The Red Cross reported that it has already had a hand in serving nearly 100,000 meals, and that more than 7,000 residents of flood-stricken regions were in Red Cross and community shelters as of Tuesday night. The Red Cross also stated that it expects to have 1,000 workers from all 50 states on the ground in Louisiana by Friday.

"This disaster is the worst to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy and we anticipate it will cost at least $30 million, a number which may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation." -- Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross

West Nile and Zika Concerns Increase

The presence of so much water due to the historic flooding is also increasing concerns over possible outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses in affected parishes in the state.

While Zika virus is at the center of public attention these days, especially in southern regions, health officials have also expressed concern about possible issues with West Nile virus, as well.

It's not now, when flood waters are still high and moving, that mosquitoes will be a major concern, experts warned, but rather when the waters recede. Strong flood waters can often wash away large mosquito problems, but when the flood waters recede, mosquitoes can often find ample opportunities for breeding and can turn into a big problem, fast.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.