Thousands of Hurricane Laura Evacuees are currently being housed in hotels throughout the DFW area. But they said the arrival of additional daily necessities has been slow.
Darchel Levy knows what it’s like to be uprooted and forced to relocate. She lives in North Texas now, but it wasn’t always home.
“I know the process. It’s hard, it’s stressful,” said Levy. “I myself and my family evacuated here to Dallas during Hurricane Katrina. So, I’ve been here since 2005. We lost everything. When we evacuated for Hurricane Katrina, we left with three days’ worth of clothing.”
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So, when she heard from Hurricane Laura evacuees that resources were not arriving fast enough, she wanted to help. She’s one of dozens of North Texans who responded after Jacques Brown, an evacuee from Lake Charles, organized and reached out to the community.
Tanika Collins, a Lake Charles native, said locals are the ones who stepped up, helping fill a hotel conference room with necessities such as food and diapers. She said it’s something she expected the state or city to do more of by now.
“People didn’t have anything,” said Collins. “And then when we went speaking to the Red Cross they were the ones saying all they could do was give out information and paperwork. But it wasn’t filling the need of what we have.”
Collins said she’s seen children go without milk and fresh diapers, and adults without clean clothing.
“You’re disgruntled. You’re irritated. You’ve been through it. So, it’s like what do you have. They’re literally willing to take whatever because they have so much of a need that they’re basically asking, ‘what do you guys have?’” she said.
The state is covering the cost of hotel rooms and three meals a day. Councilman Omar Narvaez said Monday the state partnered with the organization Trusted World to provide necessities. Narvaez said Trusted World is to handle clothing and toiletries. He said the Red Cross is responsible for needs such as prescriptions, diapers and baby formula.
A spokesperson with the Red Cross said representatives are present at all hotel shelter locations. We’re told the Red Cross is also assisting with mental health and medical needs and working with Trusted World to get resources to people as quickly as possible.
But those who’ve landed in North Texas said the need is urgent.
“There’s nobody but paperwork being pushed,” said Collins. “And the bad thing is we didn’t ask to come here. The system sent us here.”