Livingston Parish officials await federal disaster assistance from Jan. floods

January 2013 Flooding in Walker on Courtney Road
January 2013 Flooding in Walker on Courtney Road
January 2013 Flooding in Walker
January 2013 Flooding in Walker

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Things are dry now, but in January, days of rainwater washed out more than 100 roads in Livingston Parish. Governor Bobby Jindal made an appeal for federal help - something parish leaders say would help rebuild their damaged roads.

But why did it take a month to ask for help?

Water stuck around for up to 10 days in some areas on Livingston Parish, causing structural damage.

"At one time we had 167 roads that had water over them," said Mark Harrell, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness in Livingston.

Parish crews have already begun making repairs, but those repairs cost money.

"We did a quick assessment, we came up with about 1.4 million dollars," Harrell said.

Harrell says FEMA also did a quick assessment and determined there was at least $600,000 of damage in the parish. If a disaster declaration is granted, FEMA will return for a more in-depth assessment.

"It's based on many factors, income and other factors...Based on population numbers..." Kevin Davis added. Davis is the Director for the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Davis says since the rainstorms, FEMA has been in every affected parish surveying damage. They just recently determined Louisiana met its threshold of $6.2 million, in order to ask for federal help. That number he says is fairly low in comparison to what a state like New York would need to qualify for that type of assistance.

Louisiana actually requested the disaster declaration last Wednesday, Davis says.

For people in Livingston, who were stuck in flooded areas, they too could see relief from this assistance.

"Possible hazard mitigation funding in the future, to elevate homes if they received flooding in it. Help us tremendously on repairing roadways," Harrell said.

Davis says they should know in the next few days if the state's request for help will be granted.

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