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Voluntary evacuation order issued for lower St. Martin Parish

Posted at 6:30 PM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 15:12:35-04

A voluntary evacuation has been issued for lower St. Martin Parish.

The St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office says that after consultation with the Director of the St. Martin Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness and the Region 4 Coordinator of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Parish President Chester Cedars issued a Voluntary Evacuation Order for lower St. Martin Parish, effective immediately.

The voluntary evacuation is necessary to protect the safety and health of the community especially, although not exclusively, because of water and sewerage issues associated with the current high-water conditions in the area.

Anyone who wishes to comply with the voluntary evacuation and needs assistance can call the Parish’s Office of Emergency Preparedness at (337) 394-2808.  Moreover, if anyone has any questions associated with the Order, please utilize the phone number listed above.

Due to the high river levels, this spring combined with the recent heavy rains the water has nowhere else to go and is causing concern with residents.

“I’m 54 years old and it’s probably the highest I’ve seen in my lifetime for it to stay this long. We know there is nowhere else for it to go because where it comes in at its higher than it is here and it can’t buck the river to get out,” said Leroy Gros.

The high water is also causing other problems too.

“Now the sewage is backing up. We got mosquitoes all over the place what’s going to happen,” said resident Carrol Angelle.

With many of the roads flooded the parish has declared a state of emergency and voluntary evacuation.

“I issued a voluntary evacuation order designed to let people know that this high water is going to be us a little bit longer,” Parish President Chester Cedars said. “We have disturbed and utilized a hundred thousand bags of sand in an effort to control the high water.”

Cedars says that crews have been on site to help those who need assistance with sandbags. That site is open 24 hours.

The council has also shifted a fourth of its public works department to help in the area.

Those affected by flooding are encouraged to attend Tuesday’s St Martin parish council meeting in Belle River.