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Officials with the Governor's office have confirmed that 60,000 people have registered for FEMA assistance. They have not, however, listed a date when some benefits will become available.
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
A FEMA representative said the agency has formed a joint effort with state officials to help the non-declared parishes that still experienced flooding. Robin Smith said FEMA cannot duplicate insurance benefits. She stated people can register with FEMA even if their parish has not been declared a disaster area. She added it is important to take pictures and/or record video of all damage BEFORE beginning the clean up process. She said it is important to make a list of all lost items. FEMA does individual evaluations. FEMA will provide immediate assistance for housing needs, disability help and other medical needs.
Congressman Garret Graves said the federal response and support is coming too slowly. He said there has not been enough national media attention of the event. He said he plans to raise the issue in Washington. He did commend the community efforts, namely the "Cajun Navy."
The flooding situation across south Louisiana continues, as waters continue to rise for parts of the state.
Gov. John Bel Edwards addressed the media on Tuesday morning. Here are the key takeaways from the news conference:
- Still in emergency search and rescue response mode. Saving life is most important.
- 34,000 meters w/o electricity.
- 8,098 individuals sheltered. This number will change.
- 20,000+ people have been rescued.
- 11 confirmed deaths.
- 1,000 pets saved.
- 40,000 homes impacted.
LATEST INFORMATION FROM EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH:
A curfew is in place Tuesday night beginning at 10 p.m. It will last until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The curfew was announced during a press conference in which EBR Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said that any individual found out after curfew could be questioned based on the officers' judgement of reasonable suspicion. Arrests will be made on a case-by-case basis.
In the past 24-hours there have been 10 looting arrests.
Baker Mayor Darnell Waites said everyone who lives in Baker should be able to return home.
LATEST INFORMATION FROM ASCENSION PARISH:
Voluntary evacuations were called for Monday night in Sorrento in Ascension Parish and residents are urged to leave due to rising waters. Officials encouraged them to go to Lamar Dixon in Gonzales if they have no where else to go. The water is rising on several parts of Airline Highway. Authorities have closed Airline from LA 22 to I-10. Mayor Mike Lambert said 3' to 4' of water is expected in Sorrento. St. Amant Vol. Fire Chief James LeBlanc said Gonzales and Sorrento will be impacted. He said water is still flowing from Laurel Ridge Levee in St. Amant and the water is going over the levee. He added water will not leave some houses until the weekend.
LATEST INFORMATION FROM LIVINGSTON PARISH:
Sheriff Jason Ard provided an update Tuesday morning on conditions in Livingston Parish following historic flooding in south Louisiana. He said the water is still rising in some places and falling in others, but it is all still concerning. He added they are seeing flooding in places that were not supposed to flood and people are trapped in some of those areas that don't flood. According to Ard, 75 to 80 percent of the area is a total loss. He said so far, 15,000 to 20,000 people have been rescued. He said those still trapped need to be patient as responders are moving as fast as possible. He said they are still encountering some people who don't want to leave their homes. He added 911 is still for medical life-threatening emergencies.
In the midst of all the tragedy associated with the flooding, there is at least one story that will put a smile on many faces. Rebecca Barker sent an email reporting Michael Paul Thibodaux was born early Monday morning at home in Walker during the floods. She added she delivered the baby and is his godmother. The baby's mother is Linda Thibodaux. Barker also said police put them on the list for rescue, but the baby came before help did. The woman added baby Michael and his mother were taken to Our Lady of the Lake in Walker. They were then flown to Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge early Tuesday morning. Barker said Michael weighed 7 lbs, 2 oz. and is 18.5" long. The baby and his mother are said to be doing fine.
LATEST INFORMATION FROM IBERVILLE PARISH:
Major Ronnie Hebert with the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office said the parish survived a big scare. He said there have been some issues with the bridge opening to help with the water. Bayou Manchac is seeing the worst of the flooding and St. Gabriel is experiencing some as well.
Laurie Doiron with Iberville Office of Emergency Preparedness says that evacuations are recommended for those near Manchee Road and Alligator Bayou because the water is rising a half inch per hour.
The Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women is being evacuated because of concern about potential flooding. The prison is located in St. Gabriel.
A shelter is located at Iberville High School. Those who are not in danger zones are being asked to remain in their homes and to stay off the water to prevent wakes.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is encouraging those who have been affected by the historic flooding in southeast Louisiana to pre-register for benefits under the Disaster Supplemental Assistance Program (DSNAP).
If you think you've been the victim of price gouging, please contact the Louisiana Attorney General's Office Consumer Information Hotline at 1-800-351-4889.