While the recovery efforts from Hurricane Ida continue, Gov. John Bel Edwards said he is both heartbroken by the damage and encouraged by the kindness he is seeing.
Edwards is continuing to survey the damage left behind by Category 4 Ida, traveling Friday to Terrebonne Parish, including Chauvin and Bourg, and meeting with local officials.
The current focus is on rushing as much assistance as possible to impacted areas, including food, water, and fuel. And crews are continuing to work to restore power as quickly as possible, another major concern.
90% of people in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes should have electricity by the end of the month, Edwards told WDSU. The local co-op, SLECA, has been in business for 80 years and has never seen such damage. The governor said he himself has spoken with residents who are in their 80s who have lived through a lot of hurricanes, but never seen anything like Ida.
Restoring electricity is also crucial to things like medical care and nursing homes. Terrebonne General is "out of commission" after sustaining structural damage in Ida. Edwards said there's not a lot of medical care in the parish at the moment, but some resources have been made available for those who need them.
FEMA has been on the ground since before Ida made landfall on August 29, and has already provided help to residents. Edwards said there's a lot of work left to be done though, adding that he will be requesting an extension to the period of time during which local governments will be 100% reimbursed for debris removal. That and other cleanup efforts will extend beyond 30 days, said Edwards.
A record-high number of people have registered for Individual Assistance - almost $300 million worth.
But as the difficult recovery continues, the governor is seeing a lot of hope.
"On one hand, my heart actually breaks because it's awful, the devastation," he said. "But on the other hand, I'm more hopeful than ever because I see people being really good neighbors to one another."
They are serving meals, helping at community centers, and just lending a hand to one another. It's part of doing what Louisianans do - stepping up, coming together, and moving forward.
"There's a lot more to do. Nobody's going to say anything like 'Mission accomplished,' we're not going there right now," Edwards said. "We've got a lot to do."
Watch WDSU's full interview with Gov. Edwards below:
KATC's Rob Perillo was in Terrebonne Parish Friday, also touring damage left by the storm. Watch his video below:
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