Flood victims need to file claims to receive money; Officials discuss response efforts

Update from Kiran: Governor's Press Conference On FEMA

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Gov. John Bel Edwards met with the FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on Thursday before announcing that 26 parishes statewide have now been declared a disaster and 11 more are being considered for declaration.

Edwards and Fugate discussed the recent severe weather and flooding in Louisiana.

Click here for information about applying for FEMA assistance

Fugate said FEMA's job is to support the governor and agents will continue to provide assistance at the governor's request. He added small business disaster loans and FEMA grants are available to people without flood insurance, but a person's income is taken into consideration.

"If you cannot afford a loan, that's where a FEMA grant may become eligible," Fugate said. "So if you're a homeowner or a renter and you need some renter's insurance or some place to live or you have had losses and didn't have insurance, if you didn't qualify for a small businesses disaster loan, then we would look at a grant and we can make grants up to about $32,000."

Fugate added their average grant is between $5,000 to $7,000. He stressed regardless if someone is told they do not need flood insurance, they should still get it especially since this flood has left homes flooded that did not have coverage.

"Unfortunately, too many people think well if I'm not in the high risk area, I'm not at risk for flooding," Fugate said. "Well, they don't understand they just plunged one of the most valuable pieces of their equity at risk without carrying flood insurance, which if you're not in a special risk area, literally cost $300 to $400 for the maximum coverage but without out, the average homeowner policy is no coverage for flood damage."

As of Thursday morning, there have been 3,600 flood claims filed in Louisiana. There have been 300 in Texas and 200 in Mississippi.

FEMA has paid out $2.5 million in claims so far for the flooding.

Edwards said everything that was asked for has been granted within hours. He added more than 700 members of the Louisiana National Guard were called in and placed on active duty during the flood event.

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