In a letter to President Donald Trump, Gov. John Bel Edwards today requested a major disaster declaration for 23 parishes in Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Laura which, if approved, would bring FEMA assistance to affected individuals and communities. At least ten people have died in Louisiana following the storm, with many thousands more suffering damage to their homes and businesses.
“Hurricane Laura is the fifth strongest storm to make landfall in the United States in recorded history and the first in memory to maintain major hurricane strength as it traveled through Louisiana, bringing catastrophic destruction to many parishes and, sadly, causing the deaths of at least ten people in our state,” Gov. Edwards said. “Our people are strong and we will get through these trying times, and a major disaster declaration is the first step in bringing critical aid to our communities. I appreciate the President’s consideration of my request and for the support of the federal government as Louisiana responds not only to this disastrous storm, but also to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is complicating our traditional Hurricane Season plans.”
Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana on Thursday, August 27 at 1 a.m. in Cameron Parish as a strong Category 4 hurricane, bringing with it severe storm surge and damaging winds. In addition, Louisiana prepared for and was impacted by Hurricane Marco days before and is in the midst of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Edwards declared a state of emergency statewide on August 21 in advance of Hurricane Marco and Hurricane Laura.
The Governor is requesting all categories of FEMA Public Assistance (for governmental and public entities) and FEMA Individual Assistance (for people impacted by the storm) for the 23 parishes directly in path of Hurricane Laura and their residents. He is also requesting Category B FEMA Public Assistance (for governmental and public entities) statewide for parishes to address the cost of their preparations and response.
The 23 most impacted parishes are: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Acadia, Vermilion, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, Vernon, Winn, Bienville, Claiborne, Red River, Caldwell, Jackson, Lincoln, Ouachita and Union.
Yesterday, Gov. Edwards traveled to Southwest Louisiana to survey storm damage in Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermilion parishes. Today, he traveled to Central Louisiana and North Louisiana to further survey storm damage, as Hurricane Laura retained strength and wind speed as the storm traveled through Louisiana.
As of 9 a.m. on Friday, August 28, there were more than 543,000 power outages in Louisiana, stretching from Southwest Louisiana through the central part of the state to North Louisiana. Another 209,000 residents are affected by water outages and many thousands more are displaced from their homes.