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Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that a total of 20 parishes have been declared a major disaster by the federal government. Previously, 12 parishes had received the federal declaration. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate approved the declaration in a meeting with Gov. Edwards while he visited Louisiana on Tuesday.
The following parishes have now received a federal declaration (*denotes an already-announced parish):
- Acadia *
- Ascension *
- East Baton Rouge*
- East Feliciana *
- Iberia *
- Jefferson Davis
- Lafayette *
- Livingston *
- Pointe Coupee *
- St. Helena *
- St. Landry *
- St. Martin
- St. Tammany
- Tangipahoa *
- Vermilion *
- West Feliciana
FEMA issued a summary list of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under the president's disaster declaration issued for Louisiana. Assistance for affected individuals and families can include as required:
- Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
- Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
- Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
- Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals. (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)
- Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
- Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
- Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence. (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)
- Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans’ benefits and social security matters.
The waters continue to rise in parts of south Louisiana, creating the need for additional evacuations and rescue operations continue across parts of the state. So far the historic flooding has claimed the lives of six people. Reports indicate 15 rivers are in record flood stage.
Officials said the flooding numbers from this event have surpassed those in March 2016.
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