Army nonprofit stands ready to help soldiers affected by Hurricane Laura and other natural disasters – US
Army nonprofit stands ready to help soldiers affected by Hurricane Laura and other natural disasters
The official military non-profit organization stands ready to provide financial assistance to soldiers affected by Hurricane Laura, as the Category 3 storm in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to gain momentum before it s’ crash on the coasts of Texas and Louisiana Wednesday night.
Army Emergency Relief is set to provide soldiers with interest-free loans to help them deal with a range of issues that hurricanes or other natural disasters can cause, such as home and vehicle repairs or l ‘help with temporary shelter if they are displaced, the retired army lieutenant general said. Raymond Mason, director of the organization. The organization expects to be busy throughout the fall as it helps soldiers deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts one of its hurricane seasons the busiest with up to 25 named storms.
The National Hurricane Center said on Wednesday that Hurricane Laura had strengthened into a “dangerous Category 3” storm and warned it could become a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall between Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning. . The center also warned that the great storm could cause “potentially catastrophic” storm surge flooding.
The center has issued a hurricane warning for areas stretching from the San Luis Pass in Texas, just south of Galveston, to Morgan City, Louisiana, about 80 miles west of New Orleans. National Guard troops in Texas and Louisiana have been ordered to prepare to respond to the storm, as local authorities urged residents to evacuate coastal towns in the region.
Military officials at facilities in the area, including Fort Polk and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, said Tuesday they were monitoring the storm and urging their troops to prepare for high winds and flooding in the area. Fort Polk officials said on Wednesday they were preparing to move the training of thousands of soldiers at the facility’s Joint Readiness Training Center to barracks on the post designed to withstand hurricanes.
The region was untouched by back-to-back potential hurricanes as Hurricane Marco fizzled out at less than a tropical storm force before making landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Monday night.
If Laura strengthens into a Category 4 storm, it will bring winds of 130 to 156 mph. The National Hurricane Center is also warning of the potential for deadly flooding throughout the affected area.
Army Emergency Relief has a long history of assisting soldiers, including when affected by hurricanes, Mason said. Last year, the organization provided about $ 9 million in hurricane and other natural disaster relief to around 5,000 troops, he said.
Storm-affected soldiers can apply for zero-interest loans through their chains of command by speaking with Army emergency relief personnel at most facilities or requesting assistance through the American Red Cross. Mason said less than 1% of applicants are turned down for loans.
He also said that many soldiers are unaware of the military’s emergency relief. Retired soldiers, their families and, in many cases, members of the Army National Guard and reservists are also eligible for benefits.
The other services have their own nonprofit organizations, the Air Force Relief Society and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, which offer their members similar benefits.
Mason wants the soldiers to understand that if they need financial assistance, they would be better off requesting an interest-free loan from his organization than looking for the necessary money through other channels.
“The only thing that keeps me awake is that there is a soldier over there who is suffering and does not know about us and who goes out and needs money and goes to one of these places. predatory loan, you know, at the front. the door of every military post in the world, “he said.” It’s a losing proposition because they can charge up to 36% [as an annual percentage rate.]”
These loans can cost soldiers thousands of dollars, he said, and “far too many soldiers are still doing it.” Many loans administered by Army Emergency Relief are ultimately converted into grants, which soldiers do not have to repay, Mason said.
In 2017, after Hurricanes Irma and Maria – a Category 5 storm – hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the organization converted nearly $ 4 million in zero-interest loans into grants. Another $ 22,000 of zero-interest loans issued after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas have also been converted into grants, Mason said. “You never want to see someone in trouble,” he said. “And so, we hope they will come to us, and we are here to help our soldiers. We are always ready to help you, whether it is a hurricane or a [wildfire], or an earthquake, or a soldier needs help fixing a car.