Declared “the worst disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy” by the American Red Cross, the historic flooding that has ravaged Louisiana has claimed at least 13 lives, made 20 parishes federal disaster areas and has forced thousands of people from their homes.
To help those in the equipment rental industry, their families and communities that have been severely impacted by this unprecedented disaster, the ARA Foundation has donated $5,000 to the American Red Cross for first-responder relief efforts.
“Disaster relief is a major initiative of the ARA Foundation. The disaster that has hit Louisiana and will continue to impact the area for a long time to come has resulted in loss of human life and devastation of lives and property. The ARA Foundation board of trustees felt it was a natural extension of its mission to help in this way,” says Christine Wehrman, ARA Foundation executive director.
“I am so pleased that the ARA Foundation continues to take a proactive approach to these horrific disasters,” says Rhonda Pedersen, vice chair of the ARA Foundation. “This donation will go a long way in helping members and their communities in their times of need. I am extremely proud to be part of a group that cares about everyone in the industry as the ARA Foundation does.”
The unique aspect of this disaster is that the “waters rose astonishingly high in places that historically have not experienced flooding,” according to National Public Radio's Debbie Elliott. “Even for a state accustomed to natural disasters, this flood is like nothing they've ever seen before.”
In Livingston Parish, alone, CNN reported that 31 in. of rain fell in 15 hours.
“Thousands of people in Louisiana have lost everything they own and need our help now,” Brad Kieserman, the Red Cross' vice president of disaster services operations and logistics, told CNN.
“The ARA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the equipment rental industry. It is there to help those in our industry and the communities they serve,” Wehrman says. “This donation is a testament to that dedication to help in times of need.”