NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — People from Northwest Arkansas are stepping up to help with Hurricane Ida relief in Louisiana.
Sunday marked the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and it was also the same day Ida devastated Louisiana and the Gulf Coast again. Northwest Arkansans are wasting no time in helping how they can.
“Based on what we’ve seen, it’s pretty devastating,” said Sergeant Major Lance Nutt from Sheep Dog Impact Assistance.
NWA Task Force 1 left Monday morning and is heading to Baton Rouge. Fayetteville Assistant Fire Chief Willie Watts is one of the group’s leaders.
“Several days out, there are folks who are still in their homes and can’t get out, trapped by that standing, still water,” he said. “We ensure all the structures are clear, and evacuate folks who need to be evacuated, we do rescues from time to time.”
People from Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville and Siloam Springs Fire Departments, Washington County Emergency Management and Homeland Security are all part of NWA Task Force 1.
Sgt. Maj. Nutt said Sheep Dog will send a first rescue team down on Wednesday.
“Our primary focus this week is delivery of supplies which will be water fuel and tarps to give people a sense of hope that things will get back to normal and people are willing to get them there,” he said.
Sheep Dog will send another rescue team next Tuesday to help with more of the heavy duty clearing of debris.
All of this is with the focus of neighbors helping neighbors.
“We’re able to help people in need on ground and we are helping those vets and first responders who are looking for continued purpose and that continued opportunity to serve,” said Sgt. Maj. Nutt.
“We are a day or two behind these hurricanes and those folks who do need rescued or do need evacuated from the homes, they’ve often been in a difficult situation for multiple days,” said Asst. Chief Watts. “So they are just happy to see you, sometimes you are their first source of food and water.”
NWA Task Force 1 will arrive in Baton Rouge around 8pm Monday night where they will get a bit of rest before getting their assignments.
Sgt. Maj. Nutt said they are in need of donations from people so they can buy all the supplies needed for their efforts. He also encourages people to sign up to volunteer if they have the time. He also asks for people’s thoughts and prayer for the safety of all those going to help the cause.