Gov. Edwards: We're moving from response to recovery
BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards says we’re on our way from response to recovery, but we’re not out of the woods yet.
Edwards said some record flood water remains as FEMA teams have already begun making assessments. The governor stressed that residents begin registering at www.disasterassistance.gov as soon as possible.
So far, FEMA has received more than 80,000 registrations. Edwards urges all homeowners to document their flood damage with photographs before they begin the process of ripping out drywall, carpet and other recovery tasks.
Emergency.la.gov was promoted as resource for tips as clean up efforts begin. The governor urged residents to get their power back on as soon as possible in order to prevent mold contamination.
Currently, just over 4,000 people remain in shelter and that number is trending down. More than 300,000 people have been rescued along with 14,000 pets. The number of confirmed flood-related fatalities remains at 13.
Edwards said that more than 14,000 homes were impacted and asked for residents to remain patient. Edwards also said that DSNAP would start on Monday in seven parishes for the next six weeks and then in about three weeks, DSNAP will be available in all 20 parishes.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that there is currently 750 FEMA personnel in the state and are expecting another 750 to come. Johnson touched on the fact that President Barack Obama is being briefed daily on the state’s condition and said that his schedule is very busy in regards to paying the state a visit.
Edwards said that he would appreciate if President Obama visited the state in a week or two because it would cause for resources to be stretched thin, such as law enforcement escorts and the interstate shutting down.
Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern also gave an update on sheltering in the state. She said that about 10,000 residents were initially housed in Red Cross shelters and that number decreased to 8,000 on Wednesday night.
McGovern said that 100,000 meals were served in the shelters as well. She says that the organization projects to spend around $30 million in recovery efforts in the state. McGovern pointed out that volunteers are in need and anyone interested in becoming one can do so at redcross.org.
Edwards stated that search and rescues were conducted in Livingston parish in about 800 homes. He said that of those 800 homes, 30 homes had about 52 residents still there and in need of assistance.
Edwards said that another update would be issued by the end of the week.