Mayor, officials discuss on-going flood recovery in EBR
BATON ROUGE - East Baton Rouge Parish officials discussed the on-going flood recovery effort Monday with media.
The mayor joined top city advisers - from emergency response officers to environmental experts on the city's recovery efforts.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie thanked the officers of the police department for their vigilant work in responding to emergencies during the flood. Dabadie said that over 100 officers and 70 civilian employees of the department were affected by the flood, yet their efforts were “unwavering.” He went on to say that the department conducted more than 200 search and rescue operations and 9,000 residents were evacuated.
Dabadie said the department also experienced damaged as a whole with 90 units being damaged in flood water along with the equipment inside them. He said that the department is working close with FEMA to replace those.
Dabadie also stated that the flood response was a combined effort that went "really really well,"however it is something the department can learn from in the future to improve upon those efforts.
The Baton Rouge Fire Department also gave an update on the status of their department and said that 190 firefighters lost everything, but continued to provide service. According to officials, the department lost 11 vehicles and 3 response vehicles along with a few ladders and pumps. Officials said that four stations were evacuated and two of those were flooded, Station #5 and Station #17, which are currently operating out of other stations.
The fire department said they are working to conduct fire inspections in several buildings and home to deem them safe as people are rebuilding.
With rebuilding, the Department of Public Works said that it has issued over 1,000 building permits and have waived the permit fees in order for residents to begin rebuilding.
The Department of Environmental Services stated that the flood event created a massive amount of debris throughout the city, with 1.5 million cubic yards still to be collected. Officials stated that the city has already picked up 630,000 cubic yards of debris thus far. The department said that it is working closely with the mayor's office to completing those debris pick ups.
Mayor Holden closed out the press conference with a Q&A and revealing that he felt "shut out" by Congressman Cedric Richmond and his office was "not invited" when asked why he was not in attendance at the congressional hearing with Governor Edwards last week. Holden also said that is response to critics asking where he has been throughout the recovery efforts, he stated that he and his office have been in areas most affected and working alongside officials and organizations help in those efforts.
Holden also touched on his trip to Taiwan that he took last week saying that "it had something to do with flooding" and more specifically with "port cities" in creating more opportunities for those who are "disenfranchised."
Watch the news conference live on the WBRZ Channel 2 Facebook page by clicking HERE.
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