Recovery and cleanup efforts are underway as residents in Louisiana and Texas continue to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Laura made landfall on Thursday.
NBC News reports that the number of casualties has risen to 15 — several reportedly from carbon monoxide poisoning.
"People are running generators indoors or in very poorly ventilated areas and that is just an ultra-hazardous thing to do, so I'm encouraging everybody that until the lights come back on, please don't do that," said Gov. John Bel Edwards in a news conference on Friday.
In East TX, a 54-year-old man died after a tree fell on his mobile home at Toledo Bend Reservoir near Hemphill.
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Nearly 8,000 homes were destroyed or suffered severe damage between the two states, and more than 14,000 people found shelter through the Red Cross.
Nearly 8,000 homes could be destroyed or have major damage from #HurricaneLaura. Red Cross volunteers are on the ground supporting relief efforts or helping virtually. Please consider giving to help those affected: https://t.co/vOot9oqOl4 pic.twitter.com/2QItlmDatP
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) August 28, 2020
During an interview with NBC's "Today," FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor called Laura a storm "unlike no other."
"What we see so far is wind-driven damaged structures and buildings, lots of power down, lots of trees down," he said. "So, this would be a process to open up access so we can get restoration crews back in on the streets."
President Trump plans to travel to Louisiana and Texas on Saturday, the White House said in a tweet.
President @realDonaldTrump will travel to Louisiana and Texas on Saturday to be with those who have been impacted by Hurricane Laura. He is expected to survey storm damage and receive briefings on emergency operations and ongoing relief efforts.
— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere45) August 28, 2020
CBN contributor Chuck Holton shared images on Facebook that show some of the damage sustained throughout Lake Charles, LA.
Nic Hunter, the mayor of Lake Charles, wrote in a Facebook post that he could not predict a timeline for power and water restoration.
"So basically, if you come back to Lake Charles to stay, make sure you understand the above reality and are prepared to live in it for many days, probably weeks. 'Look and Leave' truly is the best option for many," he wrote.
As of Saturday morning, poweroutage.us reports that 429,088 people are without power in LA and 88,243 in TX.
CBN's Operation Blessing US Disaster Relief team, who arrived in Natchitoches, LA on Thursday, is still working with local churches to serve the needs of residents.
To give to Operation Blessing's Disaster Relief fund, call: 1-800-700-7000 or CLICK HERE.
"Operation Blessing and our assessment team are on the ground in Louisiana," said Deployment Manager Blake Mueller. "We're ready to serve the community, specifically with the construction trailer that we already have here, filled with materials to do tarping on roofs, mucking and gutting of houses that have been flooded, and tree removal with our chain saws, and any kind of debris cleanup that's needed for the community here."
To give to Operation Blessing's Disaster Relief fund, CLICK HERE.
Meanwhile, just because Laura is no longer a hurricane doesn't mean its threat is over.
Storms gain strength from open waters, so Laura after it howls its way across the South and possibly Pennsylvania as a tropical depression could cause even more destruction as it hits the Atlantic Ocean and takes a likely path up the northeast US and the east coast of Canada.