Local Red Cross worker aims to be helping hand, listening ear in aftermath of Hurricane Laura

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- More help is on the way as the Gulf Coast continues to deal with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Laura.

Thousands of people are homeless and even more don't have electricity following the storm that made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.

Laura is being blamed for 18 deaths in Louisiana and Texas, and thousands have been left homeless.

For those residents whose homes were spared, more than 350,000 are still without power and tens of thousands don't have running water.

RELATED: Hospital staff stayed to care for NICU babies during Laura
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ABC News interviewed Leah Upton, one of the nurses who stayed back to care for 19 NICU babies during Hurricane Laura. Press play to hear what her experience was like caring for so many babies while Category 4 winds of Laura ripped up the community outside the hospital walls.



The extent of the damage is so great, officials predict it will be weeks before power is back on and the cities are functioning normally.

With residents desperate and crews overwhelmed, Aleia Carmer from the Southeastern Pennsylvania region's Red Cross team is flying to Baton Rouge to assist in the relief efforts.

We spoke with Carmer on Monday before she got on her flight and she told Action News that her job entails more than making sure people's basic needs are met.
"One of the goals I have going down there is to be a listening ear for people who have been through a lot," she said. "This is a very devastating circumstance and I want to be there emotionally with people to support them."

Carmer's is the first deployment out of our region.

She will meet nearly 1,000 volunteers who already have boots on the ground helping residents find shelter, food and emergency supplies.

READ MORE: 2020 hurricane season: This year's storm name list
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For the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters predict 14 to 20 tropical storms, seven to 11 hurricanes, and four to six major hurricanes, according to AccuWeather.



The Red Cross will of course be providing support for weeks to come.

You can visit our website 6abc-dot-com to find out how you can help people affected by Hurricane Laura or make a donation.
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