WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 20, 2016 – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today more than $56 million dollars has been approved in federal support within the first week of the president’s major disaster declaration for the State of Louisiana.
FEMA approved more than $39 million to help survivors with temporary rental assistance, essential home repairs and other serious disaster-related needs. Disaster survivors can register for assistance and get help with other available resources several ways. Residents who sustained disaster-related losses can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov, or call 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). Residents who use 711 relay or Video Relay Service (VRS), can call 1-800-621-3362. Additionally, disaster survivor assistance teams are on the ground at shelters and going door to door to address immediate and emerging needs of disaster survivors including: on-site registration, applicant status checks, on-the-spot needs assessments and access to partners offering survivor services. Also, disaster recovery centers (DRCs) are scheduled to open in the next several days to provide information to survivors.
Additionally, $10.5 million in advance payments was approved through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to provide expedited relief to policyholders who sustained flood-related damages. These advance payments award up to 50 percent of the estimated covered loss to allow policyholders the ability to proceed with the recovery efforts while working with their adjusters.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved more than $3.5 million in low interest loans to Louisiana survivors and businesses to assist with uninsured and underinsured flood-related losses. The SBA currently has two business recovery centers open, one in Livingston parish and one in Tangipahoa parish. An additional four business recovery centers to be open on Monday, one in Ascension parish, two in East Baton Rouge parish, and one in Lafayette parish.
FEMA obligated nearly $2 million through the public assistance program for work undertaken to save lives, protect public health and safety, and protect public and private property.
The U.S. Department of Transportation made $2 million in emergency relief funds immediately available through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to help repair roads and bridges in the affected areas. The funds will also help stabilize structures to prevent further damage and set up detours until permanent repairs are completed.
Providing survivors with housing solutions remains a top priority and FEMA is actively supporting Louisiana’s Disaster Housing Task Force to help displaced Louisiana residents find access to housing. FEMA activated its Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, at the request of the state, to make participating hotels or motels available to provide short-term lodging for eligible survivors who are currently residing in a personal vehicle, hotel or motel, shelter, or place of employment.
FEMA, the state, and private sector organizations are working to identify additional rental resources near the affected areas. Residents can access this information at lahousingsearch.org.
For those looking for ways to help in the community, cash donations offer voluntary agencies flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and provides money to the local economy to help businesses recover.
In addition to these efforts, the federal government is providing the following support:
FEMA has more than 1,800 personnel on the ground, including six Incident Management Assistance Teams, one Urban Search and Rescue team that completed their mission today, and Mobile Emergency Response Support personnel. FEMA also provided the state more than 603,000 liters of water, 535,000 meals, 12,500 cots and 12,500 blankets for distribution. FEMA and the state are conducting joint federal/state preliminary damage assessments in Assumption and St. Charles parishes over the next several days.
The National Guard activated more than 2,900 National Guardsmen to assist with emergency flood response. Guardsmen have rescued more than 19,000 residents and 2,600 pets, and continue assisting with distribution of water, meals, cots, tarps and are providing additional security and shelter support.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) in 12 parishes to provide low to moderate-income households who do not already receive supplemental assistance with buying groceries following a disaster. Residents in those areas who already receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance benefits will not need to register in order to receive this assistance. Residents affected by the flooding are urged to pre-register for the program at: https://dsnap.dcfs.la.gov/CustomerPortal/CPLogon.jsp.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is expediting federal assistance to provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes. HUD granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages. Additionally, HUD is re-allocating existing federal resources such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs to give the state and communities the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars of funding to address critical needs, including housing and services for disaster survivors toward disaster relief.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed two National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Disaster Medical Assistance Teams consisting of approximately 80 NDMS members to Baton Rouge. In addition, U.S. Public Health Service commissioned corps officers and a 30-person command and control unit. They are among 200 staff deployed to support the response effort. HHS is operating a Federal Medical Station capable of housing 250 patients on the Louisiana State University campus and is providing care for 200 patients. The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration activated its Disaster Distress helpline. This toll-free, multi-lingual crisis support service is available everyday by calling 1-800-985-5990 or texting ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746 for Louisianans who are experiencing emotional distress.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) deployed team leaders and subject matter expert personnel to assist the state and local government with debris removal and flood response operations. USACE also provided St. John Parish with HESCO Barriers. The state provided sand and coordinated with the National Guard for installation.
The American Red Cross (ARC) operational priorities continue to focus on providing food, shelter and relief supplies to survivors and working closely with local authorities to assess what and where the current needs are. Approximately 3,100 people remain housed in 20 ARC community shelters. Since the flooding began last week, ARC has provided more than 36,000 overnight stays in shelters and served more than 171,000 meals and snacks with feeding partners. The Red Cross Shelter Finder app displays open Red Cross shelters and their locations on an easy to use map interface. Survivors can also find the location of the nearest shelter by texting SHELTER and their Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA). The American Red Cross activated its Safe and Well program to allow survivors to let family members know they are safe and for family members to search for loved ones.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children activated its Unaccompanied Minors Registry (UMR). Family members can go to http://umr.missingkids.org or call 1-800-THE-LOST to find unaccompanied children who may have been separated from parents or caregivers because of the floods, by entering basic information and/or a photo.
The U.S. Northern Command activated a Defense Coordinating Element to support FEMA’s Regional Response Coordination Center in Denton, Texas with Department of Defense resources. The personnel are heavily involved in assisting relief efforts on the ground.
The U.S. Coast Guard supported Louisiana with air and surface rescue operations.
The Corporation for National Community Service deployed more than 330 AmeriCorps members, including FEMA Corps and AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams, to support shelter operations, survivor call centers and disaster survivor assistance teams.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is in daily contact with local cooperators, the National Weather Service and River Forecast Centers to give status updates on stream gages and coordinate flood response efforts.
The Federal Communications Commission continues to monitor communication outages and is working closely with affected carriers to ensure services are restored.
The U.S. Department of Justice deployed personnel to assist in evacuation, deconstruction and debris removal operations in the affected areas.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deployed specialist personnel to monitor and assess the impacts of the flood. They are maintaining close communication with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.