President Trump Approves Louisiana’s Major Declaration Request

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President Donald Trump has approved Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request for a major disaster declaration following Hurricane Laura, the state learned late Friday evening. More details about the approval and how to access aid will be forthcoming.


Gov. Edwards said: “I appreciate President Trump’s quick action on my request for a Major Disaster Declaration, which will pave the way for getting aid to individuals and communities impacted by Hurricane Laura in Louisiana. The devastation and damage stretch from Southwest Louisiana all the way through North Louisiana, with more than a half a million power outages remaining, tens of thousands of people displaced from their homes and, sadly, at least 10 lives lost.”


Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement: “I’m thankful that President Trump has acted so quickly to help Louisianians recover and rebuild. The damage that Hurricane Laura has done to our state is breathtaking. I was able to get a bird’s eye view of the impact on Lake Charles today, and much of the area is still under water. Even in the middle of great suffering, though, our people are tough, and our people are grateful for this aid,” said Kennedy.


In a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards requested a major disaster declaration for 23 parishes in Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Laura which, if approved, would bring FEMA assistance to affected individuals and communities. At least ten people have died in Louisiana following the storm, with many thousands more suffering damage to their homes and businesses.


“Hurricane Laura is the fifth strongest storm to make landfall in the United States in recorded history and the first in memory to maintain major hurricane strength as it traveled through Louisiana, bringing catastrophic destruction to many parishes and, sadly, causing the deaths of at least ten people in our state,” Gov. Edwards said. “Our people are strong and we will get through these trying times, and a major disaster declaration is the first step in bringing critical aid to our communities. I appreciate the President’s consideration of my request and for the support of the federal government as Louisiana responds not only to this disastrous storm, but also to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is complicating our traditional Hurricane Season plans.”


(Click here to read the Governor’s request.)


Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana on Thursday, August 27 at 1 a.m. in Cameron Parish as a strong Category 4 hurricane, bringing with it severe storm surge and damaging winds. In addition, Louisiana prepared for and was impacted by Hurricane Marco days before and is in the midst of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Edwards declared a state of emergency statewide on August 21 in advance of Hurricane Marco and Hurricane Laura.


The Governor is requesting all categories of FEMA Public Assistance (for governmental and public entities) and FEMA Individual Assistance (for people impacted by the storm) for the 23 parishes directly in path of Hurricane Laura and their residents. He is also requesting Category B FEMA Public Assistance (for governmental and public entities) statewide for parishes to address the cost of their preparations and response.


Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy joined Reps. Ralph Abraham, Garret Graves, Clay Higgins, Mike Johnson, Cedric Richmond and Steve Scalise in asking President Donald Trump to issue a federal disaster declaration for the state of Louisiana.


The 23 most impacted parishes are: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Acadia, Vermilion, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, Vernon, Winn, Bienville, Claiborne, Red River, Caldwell, Jackson, Lincoln, Ouachita and Union.


On Thursday, Gov. Edwards traveled to Southwest Louisiana to survey storm damage in Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermilion parishes. On Friday, he traveled to Central Louisiana and North Louisiana to further survey storm damage, as Hurricane Laura retained strength and wind speed as the storm traveled through Louisiana.


As of 9 a.m. on Friday, August 28, there were more than 543,000 power outages in Louisiana, stretching from Southwest Louisiana through the central part of the state to North Louisiana. Another 209,000 residents are affected by water outages and many thousands more are displaced from their homes.