The catastrophic flooding in Louisiana, which the American Red Cross estimates is the largest natural disaster to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy, has ravaged the homes and businesses of thousands and, tragically, claimed the lives of more than a dozen.
In response to the devastation, which prompted thousands to seek food, shelter, and other forms of relief, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced $56 million dollars in funding for Louisiana flood survivors.
FEMA said $39 million will go towards helping survivors with significant disaster-related needs, such as temporary rental assistance and essential home repairs. Another $10.5 million in advance payments will assist National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders with flood-related damages.
Furthermore, the US Small Business Administration has approved more than $3.5 million in low interest loans to Louisiana survivors and businesses to assist with uninsured and underinsured flood-related losses.
FEMA has been at the forefront on the ongoing response and recovery efforts in Louisiana. The agency has provided 1,100 personnel on the ground, as well as 408,000 liters of water and more than 252,000 meals. Currently, FEMA is collaborating with state and federal partners to develop strategies to find suitable housing for Louisiana flood survivors.
As of August 19, more than 98,000 Louisianans have registered for FEMA assistance more than 24,000 NFIP policyholders have submitted claims for flood loss, according to the agency. At the request of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, President Barack Obama declared a major disaster for Louisiana on August 14, which will allow the state to access a number of federal resources.
“We are thankful for the federal government’s quick response to our request for an emergency declaration,” said Gov. Edwards. “This is an ongoing event, and we are confident that every available state and federal resource will be brought to bear. I fully expect that more parishes will be added to the declaration on a rolling basis.”
After visiting Baton Rouge, Louisiana to assess disaster response and recovery efforts in areas affected most by the flooding, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the federal government will continue to provide resources and assistance as long as it is needed.
“The federal government is here. We have been here. We will be here as long as it takes to help this community recover,” said Johnson.