Edwards requests disaster declaration from Biden over winter storm


Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to reporters at a briefing on the state’s efforts against the coronavirus pandemic in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, May 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Gov. John Bel Edwards is asking President Joe Biden to declare a major disaster for Louisiana due to the recent severe winter weather event.

According to a release from the governor’s office, the impacts of the wintry precipitation and low temperatures, some of the lowest ever recorded in the region, posed a serious threat to the lives and property of the people of Louisiana. The freezing temperatures resulted in outages to nearly 100 water systems, impacting roughly one-quarter of the Louisiana population. Also, more than 200,000 people suffered power outages. The state was forced to close roads across the in each region, limiting travel for business and limiting some of the initial emergency response due to the dangerous conditions.

“There have been numerous events impacting Louisiana during the past 24 months, including a year-long struggle to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Edwards. “A major disaster declaration is needed for this event due to the tremendous impact in each region of the state. At this time, 63 of our 64 parishes have declared a state of emergency in addition to the state declaration. We are thankful Pres. Biden quickly approved a Presidential Emergency Declaration in order to obtain Direct Federal Assistance and Public Assistance, Category B, to assist the state in providing immediate support to survivors of this storm. Following the storms, we were able to assess the impacts from the extended record-breaking freezing temperatures and precipitation and have determined that additional federal assistance is needed.”

The state is requesting Public Assistance, Category B (all Emergency Protective Measures) for all parishes in the state.

The state is also requesting all categories of assistance available through the Individual Assistance Program for the following northern parishes:

Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, and Winn.

Finally, the state is requesting Hazard Mitigation Assistance statewide.

Those impacted are encouraged to complete the damage assessment survey at www.damage.la.gov. This data will be utilized to support future requests for additional parishes.

Read Gov. Edwards’ letter here.

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