Recovery efforts are moving slower than expected in Terrebonne due to a lack of utilities and communication services in the Parish.
The parish says that damage assessments filed in the Emergency Operations Center on Friday indicate that substantial and wide-spread damage has occurred throughout the parish, particularly in the bayou communities.
They say about 60 percent of the residences in these areas have been rendered unsafe for human habitation.
Road clearing efforts are still underway for many of these locations.
Hospitals, due to a lack of water pressure, electricity, windows and roof damage have been forced to close.
Patients in these facilities, some in intensive care units or on ventilators, were evacuated to hospitals in Shreveport and Lafayette, as well as to facilities in Mississippi and Texas.
The parish says the closure of these hospitals and others in the region provides no way to treat trauma victims or those with medical issues that require hospitalization. It also complicates the return of evacuees.
Shelters in the parish are taking care of residents unable to live in their homes, but have also been damaged, they say.
According to Officials, there is no way to accurately predict the restoration and availability of utility service in the parish and when reentry may begin.
Restoration efforts will take a great deal of time, they say.
Assessments of the extent of damage to bridges and other critical transportation and utility facilities are underway during the daylight hours.
First responders have reported structure fires that were allowed to burn out because of the lack of water pressure and a critical injury to a police office as a result of a traffic accident which required transportation to a hospital two hours away.
Without electricity to power traffic signals, travel through these intersections is very dangerous, according to the parish.
“Terrebonne Parish is dealing with an unprecedented situation brought on by a strong Category 4 hurricane,” said Parish President Gordon Dove. “Recovery will be slow until critical utilities are restored and we do not know when these will be available."
A decision on allowing residents to reenter into Terrebonne Parish will be made by Parish President Dove in conjunction with Terrebonne Sheriff Tim Soignet.
Driving their decision, they say, will be the safety of parish residents.
"With no street lights and the abundance of hanging power lines—some stretched low across roadways—travel at night is dangerous."
A curfew remains in effect for Terrebonne Parish.
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