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Edwards gives update on Hurricane response

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Posted at 3:19 PM, Sep 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-05 16:19:23-04

Gov. John Bel Edwards provided an update on Hurricane Ida response from St. James Parish today.

It's one of the hardest-hit parishes; it's still 100 percent without power, parish president Pete Dufresne said.

"It's been a very challenging week for people all over southeast Louisiana," the governor said. "There's been an awful lot of really good work, hard work, no doubt things are better but we know there are a lot of people out there who are hurting, and we're going to continue to work hard every day to bring relief and make progress."

Edwards said there are people from all over the country in Louisiana today, helping.

For instance, as of Sunday, there are more than 8,000 troops in Louisiana to help, including more than 2,000 from states including Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Today, more troops are coming from Alabama, Kentucky and South Carolina, he said.

The National Guard is manning stations in 16 parishes, handing out millions of meals, millions of liters of water, ice and tarps.

"It's been very generous help, and it's going to be necessary for quite some time," Edwards said.

He mentioned the increase in the death toll which was announced today. The man whose death was the 13th died of heat exhaustion and lack of oxygen, he said.

Also as of Sunday, utility companies report almost 600,000 outages. That's a big number, but it's a lot smaller than the number of people who don't have power, he said.

Still, it is an improvement from a few days ago when there were more than 1 million people without power, he said, but it's still the most challenging issue right now.

Edwards reiterated generator safety; more than 80 people have been to the emergency room with carbon monoxide poisoning related to their use and four people have died. For advice on operating a generator safely, click here.

He also urged people to be careful in the heat.

"Your yard probably does need to be cleaned. It doesn't all need to be done today," he said, urging folks to take frequent breaks and hydrate.

About 60 roads are still closed, and although DOTD has started clearing debris it's still wise to check 511la.org, the DOTD website that reports on road closures and issues.

So far, of the homes assessed, more than 7,000 have major damage and almost 2,000 were destroyed, Edwards said. There are still many, many more homes to be assessed, he said.

As of Sunday, there are 3,500 people in shelters across Louisiana. If you need information about shelters, text lashelter to 898211 or call 211. If you're looking for someone in a shelter, you can call 225-342-2727 between 7 a.m. and 7p.m. to reach Connect, or go to DCFS.Louisiana.gov/connect to fill out a form. For privacy and safety reasons, DCFS can't say where the person is, but they can find them and give them your contact info and message, the governor said.

The Red Cross also has set up safeandwell.communityos.org to help connect displaced folks with friends and family. If you had a family member from the warehouse in Independence, call 211, the governor said.

On the issue of disaster food stamps, Louisiana's DSNAP request is being processed, and it will be approved, he said, adding "it's just a matter of time."

The benefits usually aren't approved until a sizeable percentage of grocery stores in the affected parish are up and running, he said. That's going to be a while. But in the meantime you can pre-register, to make the final process a little easier, he said. For information, text "ladsnap" to 898211 or you can click here.

The state also is asking the federal government for replacement benefits for SNAP recipients, who are not eligible for DSNAP.
They can get replacement benefits, and those benefits are automatically loaded onto their cards, and are based on the number of people affected by the storm in their parish of residence. SNAP recipients can find more information here.

To find more details on the help that's available from FEMA and other agencies, click here.