Though FEMA plans to play a large role in disaster relief efforts as Hurricane Harvey continues to inundate Texas, a volunteer group is stepping in to help their fellow humans — and it’s not the first time they’ve taken action.
The Cajun Navy first came into existence with 30 people and 23 rescue vessels during Hurricane Katrina and grew even larger amid severe flooding in Louisiana in 2016. The Guardian reported that last year — using social media — the group of hunters and fishermen were able to locate stranded residents and rescue them with their boats.
Their missions were all the more vital amid the government’s failure to adequately take care of victims and provide housing and relief. For example, Julie Ralph of St. Francisville, Louisiana, turned to Amazon, creating a page to accept donations of basic supplies. Ralph said that as the floodwaters cleared and rescue operations turned into recovery operations, the Cajun Navy became the Cajun Army. As she said last September:
As it stands, the boots on the ground are the Cajun Army, and anyone who can be summoned through Facebook or Twitter by people sharing how bad things are to get people to come over and help.
When the floods started hitting Texas this weekend, the Cajun Navy sprung back into action. Houston’s ABC 13 reported Monday that on Sunday, “a caravan comprising of pickup trucks and small fishing vessels made the trip from Louisiana swampland to the Houston area,” and the group has been making use of social media to find those who need rescuing.
Their Cajun Army Facebook group has over 10,000 members and provides a mode of communication for people to provide their location so rescuers can reach them, as does the Cajun Navy 2016 page, which has nearly 80,000 followers. They’re also tapping into other volunteer groups to find locations where people are stranded.
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