BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In less than four weeks, federal assistance for flood victims in Louisiana has surpassed $1 billion. However, the cost of flood damage continues to climb.
Louisiana Economic Development estimates that the historic flooding caused roughly $8.7 billion in damage to Louisiana residential and commercial properties, with damage to businesses in the state exceeding $2 billion.
In a press release issued by FEMA, officials note that more than 63,000 Louisiana families are receiving assistance through one or more of the housing options available. However, an estimated 109,000 housing units were damaged and nearly 20,000 businesses were interrupted by the flooding.
"Financial disaster assistance comes in many forms. This includes reimbursing local and state agencies for expenses related to saving lives, helping displaced survivors stay close to their homes and in their communities, and providing them funds to help repair or rebuild," states the press release. "Federal assistance includes funding from FEMA, payments from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and low interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). While there is still much work to be done, the funding contributes significantly to assisting survivors with their needs."
Housing remains the top priority for the agency, with more than $505 million going to the individual assistance program. That includes money for a temporary place to stay, making repairs to homes, sanitary and security issues.
In addition, more than $95 million has been used to pay for disaster-related expenses, such as replacing household items, moving and storage costs.
FEMA inspectors have already performed more than 114,000 home inspections. Nearly 95 percent of scheduled inspections have been completed.
The agency is also responsible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance funds to help those who are out of work because of the disaster. So far loans have been approved for almost 2,900 homeowners, renters and businesses.
NFIP authorized and issued more than $274 million in payments so policyholders can repair and rebuild their flood-damaged property.
The USDA is providing support to the state through nutrition and farmer and rancher assistance. More than $56 million in Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits have gone to survivors to help them with groceries due to lost income or damage following the severe storms and floods. Also, more than $19 million in replacement benefits have been provided to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program households that
lost food because of the disaster.
For more information on resources that are available to flood victims, including those that are not federally funded, click here.
If you would like to help flood victims, there are many ways you can help: