BY: HALEY YAMADA, ABC News
(LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana) — Less than a week has passed since Hurricane Laura tore through Louisiana, leaving an estimated 180,000 people there without water.
Now, Lake Charles residents are waiting more than four hours for basic supplies, which are being handed out by the U.S. military, and desperately trying to clean up after the devastating storm.
“We need everything we can take, anything we can get,” said resident Clifton LeBlanc.
LeBlanc said he lost the roof of his house and that they were trapped inside for four days before his brother-in-law used a chainsaw to cut them out.
An estimated 500 electricity transmission towers are down in the Lake Charles area alone and 17,000 lineman from across 29 states are in Louisiana to help restore power.
At least 18 people have reportedly died as a result of the Category 4 storm. Half of those deaths have been attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning from generators.
Yet, amid the crisis heroes in the community have stepped up to help with the recovery.
Sandy Amato, a New Orleans nurse, helped evacuate three newborns from a damaged Lake Charles hospital to a hospital in New Orleans. She said it was time to pay back the Lake Charles hospital for its help 15 years ago, during Hurricane Katrina, when it took in babies that had been evacuated from New Orleans.
“When we went into the facility, of course the air conditioner was off and that’s the whole. They lost water pressure and they lost their air conditioning system. So everything, the walls were wet, the floors were wet from the humidity, and it was just stifling,” said nurse Sandy Amato on the Lake Charles hospital damage.
“I’m not going to lie. I felt very rewarded that I was able to pay it back because they helped us, and we were happy to help them. And I felt so good about it,” Amato added.
Artist Candice Alexander, whose studio was torn apart in the storm, said that her life’s work has been shredded. However, she remains optimistic.
“We’ll make it. … Lake Charles is going to come back,” she told ABC News. “You know, everybody needs to get home and get to work.”
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