NEW YORK — In a directive issued to all Eastern Diocesan churches Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian has asked all parishes to assist in fundraising drives aimed at assisting Armenian community members affected by the devastating flooding in Louisiana earlier this month.
Vasken Kaltakjian, the parish council chair of St. Garabed Armenian Church in Baton Rouge, has reported that three Armenian families were forced to flee their homes, and one community member lost his business in the wake of the severe flooding that caused widespread damage and loss in the State capital.
According to Kaltakjian, one family experienced minor damage to their property and has already returned to their home. They are expecting to begin renovations soon.
One family’s house was completely submerged in water. Everything in the house remains unsalvageable, including such basic items as clothing and other personal belongings.
A third family was forced to evacuate their home and will not be able to return for at least six weeks. The first floor of their house was completely flooded, and they lost all furniture, appliances, and other items on the first floor to water damage.
The fourth family experienced damage at their place of business, where two parking lots were flooded and 82 cars were destroyed. In addition, the family owned two rental houses and a fishing camp, all of which were submerged in water.
Two of these families did not have flood insurance as their properties were not located in a flood zone, Kaltakjian said. Those forced to evacuate their homes are now staying with friends and relatives in the area.
The parish council of St. Garabed Church has been in touch with these Armenian families to provide emergency assistance. Their goal is to provide short-term relief while the families await aid from insurance companies and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).