FEMA: Debris removal still a main focus of recovery

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

FEMA continues to support disaster-designated parishes with debris removal through funding one year after the August 2016 floods.

More than $88 million has been approved for debris removal in all eligible parishes for this disaster.

This translates into 4,406,300 cubic yards – enough to fill nearly 94 percent of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Local governments continue to remove debris from disaster areas.

--Aug. 13, was the target date to have all disaster-related debris removed and disposed of.

--Applicants can send a request to the state for an extension.

Ascension, East Baton Rouge, and Livingston parishes have received the most funding for debris removal.

--Ascension Parish was awarded nearly $7 million.

--East Baton Rouge Parish was awarded more than $46 million. (This includes nearly $6 million for Central.)

--Livingston Parish was awarded almost $25 million. (This includes $7 million for Denham Springs.)

Other parishes receiving debris removal funding include Lafayette and Tangipahoa.

--Lafayette Parish received more than $1.6 million.

--Tangipahoa Parish received more than $1 million.

Eligible debris categories include household garbage, household hazardous waste, appliances and electronics.

As of Aug. 18, FEMA has obligated a total of $422 million to reimburse local and state governments as well as certain private nonprofits for eligible recovery costs.

--This amount includes repair and emergency services, debris removal and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and infrastructure.

Disaster funding continues to flow.

FEMA helps to repair or replace critical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, public buildings and schools.

FEMA offers supplemental financial assistance on a cost-sharing basis. The typical reimbursement is 75 percent of eligible expenses.

--Given the magnitude of the August floods, FEMA will reimburse applicants 90 percent of eligible expenses.

FEMA policies that determine which projects are eligible for funding and how and when funding is provided, can find that information online at: www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit.

Volunteer labor, cash donations advance flood survivors’ recovery

More than 750,000 hours of volunteer labor, over $1 million in cash donations and ongoing charitable efforts by a 300-plus member network of nonprofits have fueled Louisiana’s long-term recovery.

Volunteers have gutted and helped repair more than 3,400 homes while cash donations have helped flood survivors pay utility bills and buy building materials and furniture. The donations—large and small—have come nationwide from those wanting to help Louisiana recover from the August 2016 flood.

In many cases survivors have received this help in addition to assistance from other sources like FEMA.

FEMA has supported the efforts of nonprofits by forming long-term recovery committees in 19 affected Louisiana communities. These partners identify survivors with unmet needs and coordinate with Louisiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters—a nonprofit network—to match them with a group that can help.

Survivors who still need help should connect with volunteer groups in their communities. They may call 232-HELP, 337-232-4357or 2-1-1. All information reported is confidential.

The state’s Disaster Case Management Program can also provide one-to-one help so survivors can access a broad range of recovery resources. The contact number is 844-581-2207 or via email at DCMPinfo@la.gov.

Contributed Report