Devastating Floods Hit Louisiana, Mississippi Hard
In Louisiana, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness reported March 13 that initial reports indicated more than 4,958 homes in the state had been damaged by flooding.
Flooding was hitting Louisiana very hard March 12-13 and affecting much of Mississippi, as well, with governors of both states declaring states of emergency as storms and heavy rain approached. In Louisiana, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) reported March 13 that initial reports indicated more than 4,958 homes in the state had been damaged by flooding.
Four days earlier, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards had declared a state of emergency in 16 parishes because of the weather, and he amended his declaration on March 11 to include the entire state. Edwards announced Sunday night that the federal government had declared a major disaster for the state, at his request. "I have traveled to every corner of the state to assess the damage of this flooding," he said. "I want to emphasize that this is an initial declaration. We appreciate the quick response from the federal government to our request, and we will continue to work with them to ensure that every citizen who is impacted by this storm receives the disaster assistance he or she needs. State and local officials have given timely support to every parish in need, and we will continue to work around the clock until we are out of the woods.”
According to the GOHSEP announcement, the 4,958 total for damaged homes "does not include entire regions of the state still responding to flood-related emergencies. Thousands of people have been forced from their homes. This number also continues to climb."
At 2 p.m. March 13, the Mississippi State Emergency Operations Center's update said updated storm reports from 39 counties affected by heavy rainfall and flooding throughout the state indicated 185 homes had been destroyed or sustained major damage and a total of 649 homes had minor damage or were affected, with damage assessments still ongoing. No injuries or deaths had been reported, but two fishermen remained missing, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, with more severe storms predicted for later in the day. Part of state was under a tornado watch Sunday evening.
GOHSEP is working with FEMA to streamline the disaster assessment process that will determine what level of federal support will be available for individuals, parishes, and state agencies dealing with flooding in Louisiana.
The federal disaster declaration for Louisiana makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Bossier, Claiborne, Grant, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, and Webster parishes. The 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.