Things That Matter

Victims Of Hurricane Barry Are Sharing Devastating Photos Of The Aftermath And Experts Are Calling This “The New Normal”

Tropical Storm Barry has officially made its way to New Orleans. As of this morning, it has been reported that Storm Barry has dumped rain slowly as it sweeps inland through Gulf Coast states. There is currently a flash flood watch set in place in Southeastern Louisiana active for the next 6 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

While it appears that it has spared New Orleans a direct hit, others in the state fear for their safety as Storm Barry continues to cause flooding, tornadoes and power outages.

On Wednesday, July 10, preliminary storm swamped New Orleans streets and affected traffic in the city significantly. Tropical Storm Barry had also been categorized a Category 1 hurricane but then weakened to a tropical storm.

According to poweroutage.us., about 125,00 customers in Louisiana and 6,800 customers in Mississipi are without power as of today.

According to AP News, “forecasters warned of a continued threat of storm surge and heavy rains as the center of the storm trudged inland and rain bands along its back half moved onshore. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sunday parts of south-central Louisiana could still have rainfall totals of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters), with isolated pockets of 15 inches (38 centimeters).”

Storm Barry is expected “to continue weakening and become a tropical depression Sunday, moving over Arkansas on Sunday night and Monday.”

However, forecasts also showed the storm heading to Chicago. This could be a potential cause for concern if it swells the Mississipi River basin.

Ahead of Storm Barry, there were fears that the storm might devastate the city of New Orleans like Hurricane Katrina did in 2005 but everything looks to be going better than expected. However, the National Weather Service still said that “rain in the forecast could still cause life-threatening flooding.”

Check out some scenes below from New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana.

(Photo credit: AP Images via Instagram)

As mandatory evacuations were ordered last Thursday ahead of Storm Barry, residents of New Orleans tried to make their way to safety.

People have been sharing the disheartening images of their devastated households.

(Photo credit: AP Images via Instagram)

While Storm Barry wasn’t set to hit until Sunday, residents of New Orleans still felt the impact as the rains that fell last week were still strong enough to cause irreparable damage to residents’ homes.

Instagram users shared photos of the flooded streets of New Orleans.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

Instagram user @the.viking.witch shared a photo of a flooded street in St. Roch, New Orleans with a car nearly submerged underwater. She captioned it, “we woke up to a severe storm with flash flooding and somewhere even a tornado [hit].”

New Orleans residents could be seen cleaning and preparing for the storm that was anticipated to come on Sunday.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

While Storm Barry was anticipated to hit today, folks also saw flooding earlier last week. For example, this photo shows some early flooding happening on Music Street and St. Claude. A man can be seen wearing rain boots, preparing for the storm that’s to come.

Vehicles in New Orleans were nearly submerged due to the flooding.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

Freelance photographer based in New Orleans, Mary Margaret, shared an Instagram photo of the city streets flooded with water. Cars can be seen parked almost submerged fully in the water.

Volunteers and New Orleans residents also came together to make as many sandbags as they could.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

The community of St. Roch, New Orleans were coming together last week to prepare for Storm Barry. According to Instagram user @robert_savina, neighbors were getting ready by preparing sandbags in order to avoid homes, local businesses, and roads from flooding.

After filling up sandbags, volunteers and New Orlean’s residents were ready to distribute them to those affected.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

According to United Cajun Navy’s photo on Instagram, the disaster response group of volunteers were busy filling up sandbags for the local community and had filled a total of “7.5K and counting.”

Trash cans filled with water were also used as a way to stop cars from driving the flooded streets.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

Folks living in Lower Garden District in New Orleans attempted to block streets using garbage cans filled with water. This was done in order to block the streets from incoming traffic to avoid causing any accidents, but the Instagram user who took this photo wrote that “people still tried to drive around them.”

Residents of New Orlean were using anything they could to stop the flooding from worsening.

(Photo credit:  @karonreese/ Instagram)

Instagram user @karonreese captured this lighthearted photo of local business owners attempting to use anything they could find to block flooding into their stores. Are those tortillas or pita bread?

Other New Orlean’s residents had a less panicked approach to the tropical storm.

(Photo credit: Paul Zansier/ Instagram)

Meanwhile… other New Orleans residents didn’t seem to feel as panicked on social media. One Instagram user Paul Zansier, shared a photo of his “commute to the office.”

Tornadoes also hit places in Louisiana and they could be seen from miles away.

Other folks on social media captured tornadoes that could be seen from miles away. One Instagram user captioned their photo, “Tornados and flooding on my way to work today in New Orleans! People parked and standing along the interstate brings me back to Katrina. An adventurous drive to work, to say the least.”

Flooded streets didn’t stop people from trying to get around the city––by bike.

(Photo credit: Austin Fischer/ Instagram)

Earlier last week, Instagram user and photographer Austin Fischer, shared a photo of the flooding in the French Quarter. “The flooding in New Orleans this morning.  I woke up to the sound of lightning crashing across the sky and water gurgling under the door into our room, ran to move my car to a place where it wouldn’t flood, and went out to document the flooding in the French Quarter,” he wrote in his caption. (Photo credit: Instagram)

Residential neighborhoods were looking less like neighborhoods and more like swamps due to flooding.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

Another user on Instagram shared what looks like a residential street completely flooded.

Here is hoping everyone in the city of New Orleans and Louisiana experiences a safe and swift recovery.

The Chef That Fed Puerto Rico is Currently Preparing 10k Sandwiches for Bahamians

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The Chef That Fed Puerto Rico is Currently Preparing 10k Sandwiches for Bahamians

Two years ago, celebrity Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico to create a food network that would efficiently distribute food and water to stranded families. Within forty days, that network served more than 2.2 million warm meals and sandwiches across the island, breaking records of even the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and every government entity in history.

Today, he and his teams are bunkered inside hotel kitchens on Grand Bahama Island, preparing 10,000 sandwiches to be delivered on the very first flights to Abaco Island in the morning. Unfortunately, this will be just the beginning for Andrés efforts.

Five people, including a 7-year-old, have already been confirmed dead as Hurricane Dorian continues to ravage the Bahamas.

The videos are harrowing. Storm surges have risen as high as 25 feet above sea level. The U.S. Coast Guard is currently conducting search and rescue missions as we report on this developing story. Bahamas’ Prime Minister Huber Minnis has soberly addressed his nation in an evening news conference to relay, “We are in the midst of a historic tragedy. Our focus is search, rescue and recovery. I ask for your prayers for those in affected areas and for our first responders.” Images of the Prime Minister weeping into a napkin over the human loss have circulated as well.

As the Category 5 Hurricane made landfall on Abaco Island, it came to a near standstill, slower than 1 mph.

The immensity of the storm coupled with its unrelenting rain has created unprecedented flooding on the island. Video shared from this Bahamian family shows the family finding precarious refuge above insulation in their home, with each wave bringing in more water. As the power and cell phone towers go dark, many Bahamians are taking to social media to share the coordinates of their loved ones, hoping someone will rescue them.

Dorian has remained “nearly stationary” over Freeport, with 130 mph winds, for over 12 hours now.

One radio station on the island received more than 2,000 distress messages, including from those of a grandmother with six grandchildren who had to cut a hole in their roof to escape drowning in their own home. At least 21 people have been evacuated by helicopters, suffering injuries from the storm.

This Chef refused to stand idly by and flew into Nassau ahead of the storm to prepare for the aftermath.

@chefjoseandres / Twitter

Chef José Andrés and his wife founded World Central Kitchen (WCK) in 2010 as an effort to “create smart solutions to hunger and poverty,” never anticipating a need such as Puerto Rico’s after Hurricane Maria. Since then, it’s streamlined its response efforts to both natural disasters, as well as political disasters, and continues to serve children detained in the shelters along the Mexican border.

WCK works by creating a network of kitchens using private sector resources powered by dedicated volunteer chefs on the ground. “How do we organize a response in Bahamas?” tweeted Chef Andrés. “Here’s our current map we are working from…. @WCKitchen has kitchens ready to go and shelters mapped out. If kitchens are destroyed, we build one and cook in big paella pans!”

At the moment, Andrés is bunkered in Atlantis resort’s industrial kitchen, and he’s making 10,000 sandwiches for survivors.

@chefjoseandres / Twitter

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Andrés credits the private companies on the island, including Atlantis resort, Bahamas’ largest employer, for volunteering their infrastructure to WCK. He plans to get the sandwiches out on the very first flights out to Abaco Island, which is almost entirely under water right now. Once the sandwiches are packed, the kitchen volunteers will begin preparing hot meals in the morning. The sandwiches are just the beginning.

“Quite frankly, that’s what I’m going to keep doing, for the rest of my life,” Andrés emphasized.

@appetizer_tours / Twitter

“I don’t do this because it’s fun. I do this because I believe our expertise is needed,” he told Anderson Cooper after being questioned why the most famous chef in the world would fly into a disaster area. “It’s the role of every citizen to do every little bit to better the lives of others,” he responded, after an exasperated chuckle. “I’m blessed to have teams that are very committed to do this. This to me, is not my work. This is a passion. To provide meals to the few is great but I love to provide meals to the many.”

Before you donate any Advil to the Bahamas, espere.

“We saw it in Puerto Rico. Everybody is very generous and everybody starts sending things,” Andrés said, stressing the importance of following “the lead of the Bahamian Prime Minister.” He went on to recall “seeing an entire container of Advil pills. In Puerto Rico, there was so much Advil that they have enough Advil for the next hundred years. We need to make sure we follow the leadership of those who know best.” For now, we wait.

You can donate to the World Central Kitchen to ensure emergency food-relief efforts are available worldwide, no matter government response.

Leonardo DiCaprio Stands Up To Fight Amazon Fires, Pledges $5M To Support Indigenous Groups

Things That Matter

Leonardo DiCaprio Stands Up To Fight Amazon Fires, Pledges $5M To Support Indigenous Groups

@ajplus / Twitter

Leonardo DiCaprio is well known for his environmental activism. He’s spoken at numerous conferences, co-produced a documentary, and promoted a plant-based diet, all to help our global environment and our battle against climate change. 

So when news broke that the Amazon rainforest is experiencing unprecedented forest fires, of course Leo was one of the first major public figures to step forward and actually try and do something to help. 

The Titanic actor pledged $5 million to help fight the growing environmental crisis happening in Brazil and Bolivia right now.

Earth Alliance will give the money to local groups and indigenous communities as they work to protect the Amazon.

The National Institute for Space Research in Brazil says there have been more than 72,000 fires in the Amazon rainforest this year. That’s up from 40,000 at the same point last year.

A statement on the Earth Alliance website says: “The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is rapidly releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, destroying an ecosystem that absorbs millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year and is one of the planet’s best defences against the climate crisis.”

“The lungs of the Earth are in flames. The Brazilian Amazon — home to 1 million Indigenous people and 3 million species — has been burning for more than two weeks straight,” DiCaprio wrote in an Instagram post announcing the donation

Several on-the-ground organizations will benefit from the infusion of cash. 

The organizations receiving the cash are Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida (Kayapo), Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), Instituto Kabu (Kayapo), Instituto Raoni (Kayapo) and Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

Earth Alliance was founded by Leo and two other philanthropists in July – aiming to protect wildlife, push for climate justice and secure indigenous rights.

The Amazon Forest Fund is the group’s initiative to raise money for the protection of this specific area.

In an Instagram post on Saturday, the actor said he is “deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in the Amazon, which highlights the delicate balance of climate, biodiversity, and the wellbeing of indigenous peoples”.

He wants the public to get involved and support the crisis too, linking to ways people can make donations.

Meanwhile, international leaders at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, are reportedly reaching an agreement on international help towards the crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron said G7 countries would release $22 million to help combat the fires.

The funding pledge was announced as the leaders of the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – continue to meet in Biarritz, France.

However, President Jair Bolsonaro said Mr Macron’s plan of an “alliance” to “save” the Amazon treated Brazil “as if we were a colony or no man’s land”.

Mr Macron said the funds would be made available “immediately” – primarily to pay for more fire-fighting planes – and that France would also “offer concrete support with military in the region within the next few hours”.

However, Mr Bolsonaro – who has been engaged in a public argument with Mr Macron in recent weeks – accused the French leader of launching “unreasonable and gratuitous attacks against the Amazon region”, and “hiding his intentions behind the idea of an ‘alliance’ of G7 countries”.

He wrote on Twitter that Brazil’s sovereignty should be respected – and said he had discussed with Colombia’s president the need for “a joint plan” from the countries that actually made up the Amazon region.

And the fires come as the Brazilian ministry for the environment has had funding severely reduced.

“The funding for Brazil’s environment agency has gone down by 95% this year, it essentially gutted a large part of the actions that have been put in by the agricultural ministry,” University of Oxford ecosystem science professor Yadvinder Malhi told the BBC’s Today program, as BBC News reported.

“So the real thing is to look at the political direction of governance in the Amazon that’s changing under the new Brazilian government.

Many on Twitter applauded the move of Leo, who was actually putting his money where his mouth is. 

Ellen, along with many others on Twitter, were happy to see the actor put up such a large sum of money to combat the crisis. 

With that much money up, it would hopefully inspire others to take action and provide much needed aid to the fight.