NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE). Caption by Adam Voiland.

A San Diego-based disaster relief organization announced Thursday that it is sending 12 construction volunteers to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to rebuild homes for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

International Relief Teams is partnering with the Louisiana United Methodist Conference to send volunteers from San Diego and other areas around the country to Lake Charles to rebuild damaged homes for poor, uninsured and other residents who otherwise couldn’t afford costly repairs. This is the second team of volunteers IRT will send to Lake Charles; the organization also sent a team in July and plans to send one in November.

“We like to go where other organizations tend not to,” said IRT Spokeswoman Jenna Montgomery, noting that a lot of people don’t know as much about the damage Harvey caused in Louisiana as they do about damage in Texas. The organization sent disaster relief supplies like food and building materials to Texas shortly after the 2017 hurricane.

IRT previously partnered with the LUMC in 2016 to provide relief to flood victims in the state after prolonged rainfall exceeded 20 inches in several locations, leading to overflowing rivers. The organization has also provided aid to Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi from 2005 to 2012 and Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey from 2012 to 2016.

“Many people don’t realize that recovery after a disaster can take years. That is why IRT stays involved for years after the disaster, helping poor and underserved families rebuild and recover,” IRT Executive Director Barry La Forgia said.

The organization plans to continue sending volunteer teams in the future, approximately six per year according to Montgomery. Most volunteers are retired, high-skill construction workers and have experience repairing damaged roofing. Each team will stay in Louisiana for a week.

–City News Service

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