By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew
BATON ROUGE, La. – Like many who have seen the flooding in the Baton Rouge area, the images are startling. For local residents, the disaster is shocking.
“I’ve been here all my life, and I have never seen anything like this before,” said State Rep. Pat Smith (D-Baton Rouge).
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Aug. 15 that federal disaster aid has been made available to the state of Louisiana to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and flooding beginning Aug. 11, and continuing.
The president’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa parishes. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is available to the state and eligible tribal and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work as a result of the severe storms and flooding in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa parishes. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Smith said the help is available for affected residents, but they must remain patient as FEMA process requests.
“They must follow the application process through. It is a long process, but they must follow it through.”
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Walmart announces $500,000 toward La. flood relief efforts
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have made a commitment to provide support through cash and in-kind donations of $500,000 to organizations helping with relief efforts for those affected by the floods in Louisiana. Working closely with the Salvation Army, American Red Cross and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, coordination efforts are being made with elected officials and governmental entities across the region to meet the needs of those affected by the overwhelming flooding in the Louisiana region this week.
With widespread flooding and thousands of people displaced from their homes, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have coordinated efforts as part of the $500,000 donation to send truckloads of water to affected areas of the state, anticipating over one million bottles of water to be delivered in the coming days.
“We are deeply saddened by the devastating floods in Louisiana and the catastrophic effect it’s having on our associates and members of the community,” said Mark Cooper, Senior Director of Emergency Management for Walmart. “We are fully committed to the relief efforts and will continue to work closely with local officials to do everything we can.”
Top: Baton Rouge residents stand in line at for assistance from the American Red Cross. (The Pew/Grelan Muse Sr.)
Bottom: Walmart prepares to deliver one million water bottles to affected areas across Louisiana.