Lake Charles (United States) (AFP)
After being battered by two hurricanes in six weeks, the residents of this Louisiana town don’t even know which storm to blame for the widespread damage to the area.
“Honestly, I can’t say what came from which hurricane,” Sheriff’s Deputy Aymond said of the debris littering the streets of Lake Charles.
“It’s like when someone gets beaten up, and already has a black eye… you don’t know if that black eye was from the last time or not,” he says.
Louisiana has received more than its share of punches recently, particularly the oil refinery town of Lake Charles, which was hit squarely by Hurricane Laura in late August and Hurricane Delta. Friday.
Delta broke a record by becoming the 10th named storm of the year to make landfall in the United States, with six huge ones hitting Louisiana in one way or another.
While Delta was not catastrophic – it mostly damaged roofs and flooded some homes – people in this area are exhausted preparing for storms, evacuations and the inevitable blackouts.
The strikes are particularly painful for modest coastal communities in Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the United States.
“I was born and raised in Lake Charles, I have never seen all this disaster. Two hurricanes in two months, ”Brian Moore, 49, said with a sigh as he searched for gasoline for his generator.
Moore’s house was “totally destroyed” by Laura, and he had just moved into a new house when Delta struck.
A few miles east, in small town Iowa, John Thibodeaux was cooking sausages on a charcoal grill for himself and his neighbors.
“It’s just the right thing to do. If you’re going to eat and no one else is eating, that’s not fair. You know, feed your neighbors too, ”he said.
– Bad sense of humor –
But a glance at his face and it’s clear that Thibodeaux hasn’t been able to sleep much, and he says he feels bad.
“If it’s Mother Nature… Mother Nature has a bad sense of humor,” he says.
Thibodeaux waited for Laura at a local hotel, but the business was too damaged by the hurricane and had to close.
For Delta, he decided to settle in his wooden house, typical of the region. But its temporary repairs did not last and rain seeped in overnight.
Still, he keeps a good outlook.
“After Laura, when I walked out of the hotel… it looked like a thermonuclear bomb had gone off,” he said.
Rob Gaudet, founder of the Cajun Navy Volunteer Rescue Group, agreed that the damage caused by Delta was “not as bad.”
Its members ventured into the wind and rain just three hours after Delta arrived in search of people who had not been able to evacuate, many of whom were the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.
Robert Berard, 68, was one of those who received help from the Cajun Navy.
“I sent my mother to Baton Rouge for Laura,” he said, referring to the state capital two hours away. “She’s been here ever since. ”
But Berard stayed behind to keep an eye on his belongings, fearing looting as a result of the storm.
Laura destroyed his house and he lived in a small adjacent building – until it was flooded overnight. He arrived barefoot at a Cajun Navy shelter in central Lake Charles.
“I don’t want to do it again, no one does,” he said, still visibly shaken but happy to have received new shoes.
“Next time, I’ll evacuate. “
© 2020 AFP