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Gov. Edwards says southwest Louisiana’s recovery from Hurricane Laura will be ’very difficult’

Updated: Aug. 31, 2020 at 5:52 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards said it will likely be a long road ahead for the southwestern portion of Louisiana to recover from Hurricane Laura.

The governor made the comments during news conference about the state’s recovery efforts from the storm Monday, Aug. 31.

Laura made landfall as Category 4 hurricane around 1 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 27 near Cameron, La. Edwards said Laura will be a “very difficult storm to recover” due to the widespread and concentrated damage in southwest Louisiana.

He also said weather conditions remained a large concern for state officials, due to a forecast of high heat indexes throughout Louisiana. Edwards urged people working in areas without power or water service to hydrate properly and take plenty of breaks. See the governor’s full comments in the video below.

The governor said as of Monday afternoon more than 324,000 people were without electricity in Louisiana, including the central and northern portions of the state. He said he expected most of the power in central and northern Louisiana to be restored within two to three days.

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However, he said areas in southwest Louisiana could take far longer. He estimated it could be up to three weeks before power was restored to Calcasieu Parish.

As of Monday, about 17,000 crewmen from out of state were in Louisiana working to restore power, according to Edwards.

Many areas of the state were also without water service Monday. When asked about restoring water service to those areas, Edwards said the state was working with contractors and local water providers to get the service restored. He said some systems were damaged during Laura and some simply lost electricity.

Edwards announced several programs were already or would soon be activated to help residents recover from Laura.

BLUE ROOF PROGRAM

He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has activated its Blue Roof program for six Louisiana parishes. Residents of Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, and Vernon parishes could apply for assistance with their roofs. You can apply for the program by calling 1-888-766-3258 or by clicking here.

SHELTER INFORMATION

Edwards said residents in need of shelter could text LASHELTER to 898211 for information on shelters. He said the state was mainly housing more than 10,000 evacuees from Hurricane Laura in hotels. The governor said the state was trying to minimize the use of congregate shelters to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He said residents in need of shelter could also report to the Mega Shelter in Alexandria.

Most of the evacuees are staying in New Orleans area hotels. Edwards thanked the State of Texas for providing hotel rooms to more than 4,000 evacuees.

DSNAP

Edwards encouraged residents of parishes affected by Hurricane Laura to preregister for DSNAP benefits, also known as disaster food stamps. The governor said DSNAP benefits would be activated on Sept. 10, but preregistering for the benefits would “speed up” the process for residents in need.

He said residents who have received DSNAP benefits would still need to preregister. Those who regularly receive SNAP benefits do not need to register for DSNAP benefits. You can register for DSNAP benefits by clicking here.

NOT OVER YET

Edwards ended his news conference Monday by warning Louisiana residents hurricane season was far from over and reminding them COVID-19 remains a threat to the state. He said he was concerned about the spread of the virus due to the amount of movement around all parts of Louisiana as the state recovers from Hurricane Laura.

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