Families on the southwest coast of Louisiana, in the Gulf of Mexico, are evacuating their homes in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Laura, one of the largest hurricanes to make landfall in history.
The Hurricane, thought to be the worst to hit the Gulf of Mexico in over 150 years, has been described by the United States’ National Hurricane Center as “catastrophic” and “unsurvivable”, as winds hit a sustained speed of 150 miles per hour. It is currently classed as category three out of five. Power is out in much of the area, as Hurricane Laura progresses north of Lake Charles, a city of 80,000 inhabitants.
Evacuation is being made more difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic, with families reluctant to evacuate to centers in which social distancing may not be enforced. Louisiana has so far recorded over 145,000 cases of Covid-19 and 4,851 deaths.
The region is regularly victim to extreme storms. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused devastating effects, hitting speeds of 115 miles per hour. Over 1,800 lives were lost as a result of Katrina, and the cost of damages was over $125 billion.
Louisiana is home to a large number of Catholics, possibly due to the influence of French Imperialism. The diocese of Lafayette is thought to have the largest proportion of Catholics than any other diocese in the United States, at 65 per cent.