Louisiana Flood Continues to Keep People Stuck in Shelters

soldier helping child after 2012 Louisiana flood

Even though the Louisiana flood waters have started receding, over 3000 locals still have to remain in emergency shelters. Authorities are considering finding temporary housing for them.

The downpour has affected over 100.000 homes, in over 20 parishes in the southern part of the State. Officials call it the worst disaster to affect the region since Hurricane Katrina. In one area of Livingston Parish alone, around 31 inches of rain fell in just half a day. Other areas in the region saw almost 2 feet of rain in just as many days.

So far, over 25.000 residents have filed flood insurance claims. Unfortunately, less than half of the Louisiana homeowners in high-risk areas have adequate flood insurance. Around 12% of those living in moderate to low-risk areas have insurance.

For the first time since Hurricane Katrina, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has extended the renewal period of flood insurance policies, to make up for the damages. Apart from insurance, 110.500 individuals have asked for aid, and around $74 million were given out to the victims of the Louisiana flood.

The sum is quite small when compared to the amount received by victims of Hurricane Katrine, in 2005. FEMA paid around $6.5 billion dollars to affected household then.

Authorities Reacted Quickly to the Louisiana Flood

In 2005, FEMA received harsh criticism for their apparent slow response. Following the devastating blow dealt by the Louisiana flood, Adam Knapp, head of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber declared, “From the vantage point of a citizen, what we see is a much more coordinated state, federal and local partnership on the response”. It would seem authorities have learned from past experiences.

Knapp had been the deputy director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Thus, he benefits from complex understanding of the logistics involved in dealing with a natural disaster such as the Louisiana flood.

However, authorities still faced criticism for not warning locals on time of the impeding danger. The National Hurricane Center had been monitoring the storm forming over the Gulf of Mexico. When they realized wind speeds were not high enough to transform it into a hurricane, they stopped tracking it.

As a result, the Louisiana flood took local residents by surprise. Weather authorities in the New Orleans/Baton Rouge area issued warning three days before the floods, but for some, that was not enough time to prepare.

As of this moment, 13 people are confirmed deaths, and thousands of people are still missing. Donations are not coming in as fast as they should. Many criticize the media for not covering the Louisiana flood as they should have. They cite this as the reason why, for the moment, the Red Cross lacks adequate funds.

President Barack Obama is heading later the week to the area. Many hope this will gain them the national attention they require, to obtain the help they need. Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has asked her followers on social media to donate money to the Red Cross and the Baton Rouge Area foundation, and Donald Trump and his running mate have toured the area on the 19th of August.

Image Source: Flickr