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Hurricane Ida marks another climate disaster in Louisiana, placing pregnant and postpartum people at increased risk.

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Hurricane Ida made landfall in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29–the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

A Category 4 hurricane, Ida’s 150mph winds tore roofs off homes and unrooted trees across the state. Weeks after the hurricane, thousands in Louisiana  remained without power, roads throughout the state were closed, and flooding, debris and severe damage made it unsafe for many evacuated residents to return. The town of Grand Isle in Louisiana is reported to be largely “uninhabitable, and sections of highway collapsed in nearby Mississippi. 
 
We know that when a crisis hits, the burden is not equally shared. As documented in Every Mother Counts’ 2017 film
Giving Birth In America: Louisiana, the climate crisis impacting Louisiana not only damages infrastructure, but disproportionately affects low-income Black communities. This reflects the same structural racism that has led to Black women in the U.S. being three times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth than white women. As climate-related disasters increase in frequency and scale, racial disparities in maternal health are likely to worsen.  
 
Our grantee partner, Birthmark Doula Collective, is filling crucial gaps in the Hurricane Ida response and working toward long-term recovery to ensure all pregnant and parenting people, particularly Black birthing people and others who have been most impacted, have their basic needs met, along with continued access to full-spectrum doula care and lactation support.  
 
During and in the aftermath of the hurricane, Birthmark shared information and resources with clients and families, and mobilized a 24/7 Parent-Infant Warmline, providing emergency information on infant feeding in English and Spanish to families facing the effects of the hurricane. Birthmark has also been delivering diapers, infant feeding kits, and other resources to local hospitals and families in need. 

In response to immediate needs in the aftermath of the hurricane, we have provided Birthmark Doula Collective with an emergency grant to provide mutual aid, such as assistance with shelter, food and childcare, to birth workers and black and undocumented pregnant and parenting families who incurred expenses as a result of evacuation and hurricane damage.    

To learn more about Birthmark Doula Collective, please visit their website where you can donate directly to their vital work supporting  pregnant and postpartum people.

Due to the urgent nature of this emergency, we encourage direct donations to our partners to ensure an immediate flow of funds. Should you wish to donate through Every Mother Counts, you can do so here.

Photo credit: NPR

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