Early in the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the United States Gulf Coast with incredible force. The Category 3 storm brought sustained winds of 100–140 miles per hour, stretching approximately 400 miles across. It left three states without power and thousands of people displaced without food, water, or shelter. The storm’s aftermath was catastrophic. Breaches to levees resulted in widespread flooding, and to this day many claim, that the federal government was slow to meet people’s needs affected by the storm. Hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were displaced from their homes. It is estimated that Katrina caused more than $100 billion in damage.
As after every major disaster, the need for fuel was acute: The New York Times reported:
“Drivers waiting in line for hours, and occasionally in vain, to fill up their tanks. Gasoline prices shooting up 50 percent or more overnight. The president urging everyone to curtail driving and conserve energy at home. Dark rumors of hoarding and market manipulation starting to spread. Economists warning that soaring energy costs will certainly slow economic growth -- and maybe snuff it out completely.” (See http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/04/business/katrinas-shock-to-the-system.html)
Immediately, what was emerging to be known as the “Fuel Relief Fund” response team deployed a tanker truck filled with gasoline and drove from California to Mississippi, and onwards to Louisiana. Conditions were challenging: highways were submerged and homes were completely destroyed. The storm left miles upon miles of ruin, damaged infrastructure and personal tragedy in its wake.
Fuel Relief Fund provided free gasoline directly to people affected by hurricane Katrine, allowing them to power their vehicles in an effort to search for food, water, and shelter. It was this experience that cemented the establishment of the non-profit organization, Fuel Relief Fund.
Fuel Relief Fund is grateful to our Board and supporters that have stood with us to build implement the vision for our organization, and we are proud to say that we continue to provide services that are highly in demand and valued by the international community. Our added value is in providing rapid, direct relief to local populations affected by disasters and enabling through fuel relief, the vital response work of the humanitarian community.