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Mandeville couple survives Hurricane Ida, Muslim relief group helping them

INCA Relief is on the ground in Louisiana helping people rebuild.

MANDEVILLE, La. — A path of destruction was left in St. Tammany Parish and it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation to help people clean and rebuild.

A Mandeville couple had their home completely torn in half after a tree fell on top of their bedroom, hitting their bed as they were sleeping on it.

“It’s hard to believe anyone could survive that,” the homeowner said. “If that tree would have rotated a quarter of an inch to the west it would have killed us both. If it would have rotated another inch it would have cut off our path to get out and we would have been crushed in all that.”

Somehow, Nilar Dalton and her husband survived with only scratches. Now the focus is shifting to healing and clean up.

ICNA Relief, a national Muslim relief organization, is in Louisiana helping them and many others pick up the pieces.

“As Muslims and in the Muslim faith we believe we need to help our neighbors of the Muslim and non-Muslim faith and be righteous towards them and help them however we can and treat them like we would like to treat ourselves and our families,” Mohamed Dahsheh, the ICNA area manager of the South Florida office said.

“Our first disaster relief mission was 9/11,” Dahsheh said. ”So 9/11 was our first actual disaster response.”

Saturday marks 20 years since that day. The organization said it’s taken that time to get beyond feelings of prejudice toward the Muslim community. In part through 20 years of helping people rebuild. 

“We’re faith-based, we’re faith-inspired but we’re not faith-exclusive,” Ammar Ahmed, the ICNA public relations coordinator said. “Regardless of your skin tone, regardless of your religion, cultural customs, your background, what divides us is far far less than what unites us and so we’re here as a symbol of unity as a symbol of hope to tell the people of Louisiana we stand arm and arm with you to help win whatever capacity that we can,” Ahmed said.

It’s help Nilar Dalton and her husband said they are blessed to have after the catastrophic damage to their home.

“When I saw the house it’s all open and all the water coming inside the living room and we live in a bayou, so we worry about snakes and alligators coming in,” Dalton said.

Dalton said Hurricane Ida was her family’s own personal Hurricane Katrina. She and her husband have set up a GoFundMe to help with the damages.