BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisianans received more than $770,000 in disaster aid this week, according to figures released by officials from Louisiana Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The recent federal disaster declaration covers eight parishes: Acadia, Iberville, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Landry, St Martin and West Baton Rouge.
To apply for disaster assistance, call the toll-free application number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with speech or hearing impairment can call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both lines remain open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until further notice. Registrations will be accepted through August 7, 2004.
The following serves as an update of disaster recovery activities:
- To date, 1,037 individuals called to apply for disaster assistance as a result of the severe storms and flooding of May 12-19, 2004.
- Qualified applicants received $530,000 in housing assistance, which helps renters and homeowners whose primary residences were damaged or destroyed, as well as those who were displaced from their home due to the disaster.
- Qualified applicants received nearly $240,000 to help meet essential needs—such as transportation and personal property repair or replacement—not covered by insurance or other programs.
- Inspectors completed 521 on-site inspections to assess damage losses reported by applicants. Federal officials report an average turnaround time of 2.6 days between inspection and notification of approval.
- More than 40 people visited the Disaster Recovery Centers in Rayne (Civic Center), Bayou Sorrel (Fire Station) and Lafayette (Carencro High School). At the centers, loan officers from the U.S. Small Business Administration answer questions about low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and business owners. The centers also provide information and written materials about various disaster assistance programs, including tax advice, crisis counseling and disaster unemployment benefits.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.