Unprecedented. Historic. Epic. Three words that have been used to describe this month's flooding in Louisiana. Last Friday, as the rains came down and over 31 inches of water fell in some areas, we knew it was a big deal.
A week later, this remains a very significant disaster. Our Administrator traveled down on Tuesday. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security traveled down on Thursday. Next Tuesday, the President will travel.
With disasters like these, the federal family wraps its arms around affected communities. Large and small. The federal family becomes a true family and does what it does best: helps those in need.
From cots and sheltering to disaster loans and search and rescue, the federal government—in coordination with its state colleagues in Louisiana—has been working hard to make sure these communities have the resources they need.
Here's a look at just some of the work that has been done so far.
Over 3,800 members of the National Guard have been working to help the state complete important tasks like evacuations and search and rescue operations. The Army Corps of Engineers deployed subject matter experts to help state and local counterparts with debris removal. The Small Business Administration is providing a wide range of services to both businesses and homeowners, including low-interest disaster loans. Over 300 AmeriCorps members (from FEMA Corps and other programs) have been deployed to help various groups with operations like mucking and gutting homes damaged by the floodwaters.
Here at FEMA, we've deployed nearly 1,100 staff members to the Baton Rouge area—this includes housing inspectors, disaster survivor assistance teams, and an Urban Search and Rescue team from Texas.
Like I said before, this is a look at just some of the important work being done so far. There is much more to do and much more being done. Events that are "unprecedented" and "historic" like this one require long-term recovery efforts. It will take time. And the federal family will remain with Louisiana as long as needed.
There are several resources available for those inside and outside the area.
First, if you live in an affected parish, check out our disaster page for this event to find important information and you can apply for assistance directly at DisasterAssistance.gov.
If you don't live in the area but want to help, there are resources out there for you as well. For volunteering and donating, check VolunteerLouisiana.gov. That site is a great resource for those who look to help as much as they can.
And one of the most important things you can do is share this information with people you know. Retweet. Share on Facebook. Get the information out so people can get the help they need.
We've seen quite an outpouring of support for Louisiana so far and it warms our hearts. We're always mentioning how it's "neighbor helping neighbor" in the early stages of disaster response, and it's carried through from response into recovery.
Our thoughts continue to be with Louisiana and its affected communities, as we will also be with them through each step of the response and recovery process.