(Photo : Reuters)
As it continues on a direct path to the coastline of southeastern Louisiana, including metropolitan New Orleans, Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to become a hurricane before it makes landfall on Wednesday, which marks the seven-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Isaac is currently 80 miles SSE of the mouth of the Mississippi River and 165 miles SE of New Orleans. It is moving toward the northwest at approximately 10 MPH, packing maximum sustained winds of up to 70 MPH with higher gusts. The storm is expected to produce between 7 and 14 inches of rain with possible isolated amounts of up to 20 inches in southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the extreme western Florida panhandle, according to the most recent advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
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"It is quite ironic that we have a hurricane threatening us on the anniversary of Katrina," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said during a press conference. "[But] there is nothing this storm will bring us that we are not capable of handling."
Since the havoc that Katrina wreaked on New Orleans in 2005, the city has invested $10 billion to repair and improve its levee system. Additionally, the city's water pump stations now have backup generators in case of power outages.
Direct Relief, an international medical organization that provides assistance to people in need, is closely monitoring Isaac and working with 85 health clinics in the Gulf Coast area. The organization offers "hurricane preparedness packs" to those in need. These packs contain medicines and supplies for use by hospitals and clinics to treat the vulnerable or chronically ill during emergency situations. The packs contain enough medical materials to treat 100 patients over a three-to-five day period. Direct Relief has already outfitted 20 clinic partners in the projected path of Tropical Storm Isaac with supplies.
"Smart preparation is the best defense when a hurricane strikes. Community clinics and health clinics are the linchpin of an effective response and speedy recovery," Damon Taugher, director of USA Programs at Direct Relief said in a statement. "It is critical that clinics in areas most often hit by extreme weather are bolstered with additional supplies to utilize when the devastation first occurs."
Direct Relief assisted in helping Hurricane Katrina victims by providing medicines and medical supplies to healthcare providers treating people in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Louisiana. The organization delivered more than $47 million in medical aid and $4.6 million in cash grants to help rebuild the healthcare system in the affected areas.
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