FEMA aid available to Louisiana following emergency declaration

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency has made funding available to the state of Louisiana for necessary emergency protective measures for potential flooding under President Obama’s emergency disaster declaration issued on Friday, May 6, 2011.

The emergency declaration authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts in areas of Louisiana affected by flooding beginning on April 25, 2011, and continuing. Specifically, 22 parishes (listed below) were included in the recent declaration, authorizing FEMA to provide appropriate assistance and resources to the state to save lives and to protect property, public health and safety throughout these communities.

“FEMA is part of the response team, and we are partnering with the state and local officials to provide the assistance necessary to alleviate the potential for flooding and its aftermath. Our team is already on the ground working this emergency with the intent of alleviating the hardships to the affected local population,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gerry Stolar, the head of FEMA operations for this emergency declaration. “Residents of this state know all too well the unyielding nature of floodwaters, and our local staff, many of whom also live here and who have worked recovery efforts throughout this state, are committed to best aiding wherever needed.”

FEMA is currently able to provide funding for emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to Direct Federal Assistance (e.g., teams, equipment, supplies) under the agency’s Public Assistance Program. Examples of eligible emergency protective measures are as follows:

• Warning devices (barricades, signs and announcements)

• Search and rescue

• Security forces (police and guards)

• Construction of temporary levees

• Provision of shelters or emergency care

• Sandbagging

• Bracing/shoring damaged structures

• Provision of food, water, ice and other essential needs

• Emergency demolitions

• Removal of health and safety hazards

Per the emergency declaration, this assistance is now available for the parishes of Avoyelles, Ascension, Assumption, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, Iberia , Iberville, LaSalle, Madison , Pointe Coupee, East Baton Rouge, St. Charles , St. James, St. John , St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Tensas, Terrebonne, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana . Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

“Many Louisiana residents are familiar with the disaster declarations that followed hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike,” added Stolar. “Unlike such declarations, at this time, only an emergency declaration has been issued in anticipation of flooding and with the intentions of helping to meet critical safety measures before state resources may become overwhelmed.”

While an emergency declaration is a pre-incident declaration, allowing initial emergency protective measures to be funded by FEMA, a disaster declaration, if issued, follows a disaster and activates a broader array of federal programs to assist related response and recovery efforts. Not all programs, however, are activated for every disaster declaration. The determination of which programs are activated, such as FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program, is based on the needs found during disaster damage assessments.

For local resources and information please visit: www.getagameplan.org and www.emergency.Louisiana.gov