Additional parishes added to federal disaster declaration
BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards has asked Barack Obama to expand the existing federal disaster declarations for the state to include additional parishes.
Twenty parishes have now been declared a major disaster by the federal government. Previously 12 parishes were received the federal declaration.
The parishes include: (*notes the parishes previously announced)
East Baton Rouge*
“I have traveled to the impacted parishes and met with families dealing with devastating loss due to this historic flood event,” said Gov. Edwards. “I am grateful that the federal government has added additional parishes to this disaster declaration. We are traveling the state with FEMA representatives who are constantly collecting data on the damage, and we will continuously update our request to add more parishes as needed. I am optimistic that more parishes will be approved as we work around the clock to ensure every resource is available to the people of Louisiana.”
Gov. Edwards submitted the additional data for the eight parishes on Monday to be added to the Major Disaster Declaration from the federal government. On Sunday, Edwards requested that the declaration be made for 21 parishes. Only four of those parish requests were granted including East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa.
Edwards said eight people are dead and 8,000 people spent the night in shelters Monday night. Edwards also said 40,000 homes were affected in varying degrees.
"We are still in emergency search and rescue effort in many places," Edwards said.
Edwards also warned residents of FEMA scams, saying that FEMA never charges for their services.
"If someone says they are from FEMA and are asking for a payment, it's not legit," Edwards said.
Nearly 40,000 people have registered for FEMA assistance. Officials are encouraging everyone impacted by the flooding to register for federal assistance even if their parish is not in the federal disaster declaration.
"This is much bigger than the March flood event in Louisiana," FEMA Director Craig Fugate said. Fugate said residents should register with FEMA especially if they do not have flood insurance.
Fugate said that FEMA will supply temporary housing if needed. He said it will not be travel trailers.
Gov. Edwards said first responders will not only search residences, but cars too.
Edwards: We are going to need volunteers to help out with homes...so that individuals can go back to their homes.— WBRZ News (@WBRZ) August 16, 2016
The 21 initially requested parishes included:
• East Baton Rouge
• East Feliciana
• Jefferson Davis
• Pointe Coupee
• St. Helena
• St. Landry
• St. Martin
• St. Tammany
Additional requests will be coming as the week advances and Edwards continues to tour the destruction. FEMA head Craig Fugate will meet with the Governor in Baton Rouge on Tuesday to discuss the situation. More information about federal aid is available here. You can apply at disasterassistance.gov.