July 15, 2019

Tropical Storm Barry Causes Flooding and Damage to Louisiana Coast, Hastened by Climate Change

For Immediate Release
Monday, July 15th, 2019

(Brooklyn, NY) Over the weekend, tropical storm Barry overtook the levees of New Orleans and caused the Mississippi River to flood the city, as well as towns along the Louisiana coast. The total future impacts of Barry are currently unpredictable, as it moves slowly through the South and potentially imperils residents in a never-ending hurricane season. 

Communities and tribal nations are demanding Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards take action to stop fossil fuel projects in his State that are compounding the impact of hurricanes and tropical storms. In particular, poor and migrant communities are disproportionately suffering as a result of flooding and property damage caused by Barry, without the resources to meaningfully recover from the storm. We call on the governor to immediately channel funds to support these communities’ recovery and hold fossil fuel companies accountable for the damage they have caused. 

Rev. Tyrone Edwards, of the Zion Travelers Cooperative Center in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish said: 

“Our community is very vulnerable to the Mississippi River overflowing. We are a rural, primarily African-American community, we don’t have a lot of businesses in our community. We have many elderly people who are anxious about the river overflowing. Katrina taught us that we have to evacuate because we don’t know what’s going to happen, and we have kids as young as 5 who know what a hurricane can do because of what happened to homes during Katrina. All the oil companies in this area who have been drilling for years have contributed to coastal erosion that’s taking place. Oil companies have a responsibility to building up our areas and making financial contributions to coastal restoration projects.” 

The following is a statement from 350.org’s Executive Director, May Boeve:

“Just ahead of the 14th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Barry landed in Louisiana after months of flooding in the Midwest, along the East Coast, while wildfires crisp Alaska and beyond. This storm kicks-off a hurricane season that will inevitably get longer as the climate crisis intensifies the impact of such storms.”

“With more than 70,000 people in the South losing power, the severe long-term impacts on Louisiana’s most vulnerable communities will persist far after this storm has passed. While some media has underscored the connection between these impacts and the region’s fossil fuel extraction, we must also recognize the role fossil fuel companies have had in exacerbating the climate crisis.

“It is vital that we build resilient and community preparedness with green infrastructure to limit storm impacts through a Green New Deal, and that elected officials at all levels prioritize rebuilding and recovery, and holding accountable fossil fuel executives responsible, as part of their approach to climate action.”

Press Contact: Monica Mohapatra, U.S. Communications Specialist, [email protected]