IBERIA PARISH, La. -- The Port of Iberia, which provides the nation with access to the Gulf of Mexico and imports and exports a wide variety of tonnage from gas and oil pipes and supplies to agricultural products, has recently received funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) for repair work to several of its Gustav-damaged facilities.
Over 100 industries lease and operate out of the facilities owned by the port, and during Hurricane Gustav, several of these facilities - the All Points Equipment Company Metal Building, the Chart Energy & Chemicals Metal Building, the Central Gulf Shipyard Metal Building and the Advanced Welding Services Metal Building - incurred damages that were deemed eligible for FEMA funding.
"I have been very impressed with the speed and professionalism shown by FEMA, specifically the public assistance coordinator and project specialist in the preparation and the approval of the project worksheets for the port's repair work," said Roy Pontiff, executive director of the Port of Iberia.
The recent funding provided by the agency, totaling $40,375, will help cover costs for work related to various repairs at the four facilities, including the removal and replacement of damaged ceiling tiles, insulation and metal trim.
"The port attracts a variety of industries and companies to Iberia Parish, and in return, these businesses contribute significantly to the economy of Iberia and its surrounding coastal communities," said Tony Russell, acting director of Louisiana's Transitional Recovery Office. "Public assistance grants that we have recently provided will help restore the Gustav-damaged facilities owned by the port to their pre-storm conditions so that they can continue to attract businesses and foster economic growth in southern Louisiana."
"Economic revitalization is crucial to our recovery from the 2005 and 2008 storms," said Paul Rainwater, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "Using the lessons we learned from Katrina and Rita, we are working with our partners to make Gustav and Ike funds more readily available, so this kind of work can begin."
During his first day in office, Governor Bobby Jindal issued an Executive Order directing the LRA to be responsible for the state's actions with regard to FEMA's Public Assistance program. The LRA is working in conjunction with GOHSEP and its federal partners to identify ways to streamline the Public Assistance process and improve efficiency, with the ultimate goal of cutting in half the length of time that applications spend in the process.
The Public Assistance program works with state and local officials to fund recovery measures and the rebuilding of government and certain private nonprofit organizations' buildings, as well as roads, bridges and water and sewer plants. In order for the process to be successful, federal, state and local partners coordinate to draw up project plans, fund these projects and oversee their completion.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.