BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Matthew has now been downgraded and many communities along the east coast are in recovery mode, getting assistance from FEMA. With recovery still very much a reality in South Louisiana following historic flooding in August volunteers FEMA representatives are still here as well.
Matthew is no longer a hurricane but the danger of the storm is not over, which means many coastal communities are not quite out of the woods as the storm heads out into the Atlantic.
So far, around 887 people have been rescued from flood waters there, and according to the Associated Press, the death toll has climbed into the hundreds in the Caribbean and 17 in the United States.
As the focus slowly shifts to recovery, FEMA spokeswoman Robin Smith said crews have been on standby for days.
"I'm sure they are very busy considering they've had people on the ground prepositioned for about the last week just preparing for the possibilities all up and down the east coast," Smith said.
Matthew's devastation came almost two months after historic flooding in South Louisiana but Smith said people in the area should not be concerned about their level of assistance. While crews have been on the ground along the east coast, many have never left Louisiana.
"Being here prior responding already to the Louisiana disaster, it did not affect that as far as people at all," she added.
Right now, close to 150,000 families have registered for FEMA assistance in South Louisiana and the agency has provided roughly $696 million in recovery efforts.
"If you have not already provided us with an estimate from a licensed contractor that's actually one of the smartest things you could do," Smith said.
The deadline to apply for disaster assistance through FEMA is Thursday, October 13.
Anyone who has not applied yet is encouraged to visit a Disaster Recovery Center and discuss their options. Residents can contact FEMA directly at (800) 621-3362.