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Gov. Edwards: power outages across state have been reduced, shelter reception moving to Alexandria

State reporting no new fatalities from storm as of Monday
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Posted at 1:46 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 17:46:02-04

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards held a media briefing about the state's response to Hurricane Laura after hosting a Unified Command Group meeting on Monday.

Edwards said that during the UCG meeting with National Weather Service warned that weather remains a challenge with regard to the heat.

A heat index ranging from 105-108 is being forecast in many affected areas.

Edwards said this is an issue for those without power and water as well as for workers doing cleanup out in hthe eat without water in some areas.

Edwards encouraged those out in the heat to take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water.

The governor said that no additional deaths have been reported for the storm, which leaves the total at 14 fatalities.

He pointed out that eight of those deaths are from carbon monoxide poisoning and reminded residents who are running a generator to follow the instructions included, have it run outdoors and away from enclosed areas and not to refuel a generator while it’s hot.

Edwards said that the Army Corps of Engineers is now working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the Blue Roof Program in the parishes that have received disaster declarations.

The Blue Roof Program provides temporary roofing for homes damaged during the storm and the Army Corps of Engineers will begin collecting rights of entry for affected homes in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vernon Parishes.

Edwards said the program is free to the public and allows some percentage of homes habitable so that families do not have to be sheltered somewhere else.

Edwards said that extensive power outages continue across the state, but have been reduced since Sunday. He said that he estimates about 324,000 residents across the state are still without power, but believes that outages in the northern part of the state to come back over the next few days.

He said that after meeting with the president of Entergy earlier in the day, the damage to the power infrastructure in Southwest Louisiana is very extensive and that it could be about three weeks before communities in Calcasieu Parish could have power restored.

Edwards said that 17,000 line workers from out of state are working to help restore power in many of the affected areas.

He said that 6,200 National Guardsmen are still deployed and have distributed 1.3 million liters of water and 800,000 MREs at 32 points of distribution across the affected parishes.

The governor said that residents should contact their local Office of Emergency Preparedness for more details on where to find the closest distribution point. A full list of OEP contact information can be found at GetAGamePlan.org.

The governor said that as of Monday morning there more than 10,000 evacuees in non-congregant shelters, or hotel rooms, in 43 hotels across the state with many of them in New Orleans. There are also about 4,000 evacuees in hotels across Texas.

Edwards also said that the reception center from Zephyr Stadium in New Orleans to the MegaShelter in Alexandria. Evacuees will now go there to find a hotel room for shelter.

Edwards said that evacuees will stay at the MegaShelter as short as possible because of COVID-19.

The governor said that those looking for shelter can text LASHELTER to 898211 to get more information.

Edwards said that those looking to register for DSNAP benefits can do so by visiting DCFS.LA.GOV/DSNAP. He said that those who already have SNAP do not need to register because they will receive DSNAP benefits automatically. He said that he expects DSNAP to become available on Sept. 11.

John Spain, executive vice president of the Baton Rouge Community Foundation, spoke on behalf of raising funds for the Southwest Louisiana Community Foundation after part of their staff had to relocate to their Baton Rouge office.

Spain said that the community foundation raises private money immediately after a disaster to fill the gap between a disaster and when the federal aid money becomes available for those affected.

Spain said that donations could be made at www.foundationswla.org.

You can watch the press briefing on KATC, KATC.com and the KATC Facebook page.

The briefing will also be streamed on the governor's facebook page.

People who sustained losses in Hurricane Laura in the designated parishes of Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vernon Parishes can begin applying for assistance today by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

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