Here's what FEMA is doing to help Terrebonne and Lafourche residents recover from Hurricane Ida
Though you may not see them, FEMA agents have been on the ground in Terrebonne and Lafourche in the wake of Hurricane Ida, the agency said.
“The state of Louisiana is in the lead,” FEMA spokesman John Mills said. “FEMA is here to support the state and local communities that were hard hit by Hurricane Ida. If a community needs a resource, the state will provide that resource. If the state doesn’t have it, they ask FEMA for that resource. So right now, with the points of distribution, that’s one of the response activities that FEMA is coordinating. You won’t necessarily see a FEMA logo because the whole community is responding.”
FEMA representatives work behind the scenes to help coordinate supply distribution sites and other resources to help residents in Terrebonne and Lafourche recover from the Category 4 storm, Mills said.
“When you pick up supplies at a POD, you might see the Red Cross, but FEMA helps coordinate that bottle of water getting there,” he said. “The community is responding. You’re seeing neighbors helping neighbors, volunteers doing incredible work, charities and faith-based groups are coming into the area in huge numbers to help people recover. That’s coordinated at the local, state and federal levels. For a very large disaster like this, FEMA’s voluntary agency liaisons are coordinating with the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other organizations based on the needs identified at the parish level that are reported up to the state to help put those voluntary organizations where they are needed.”
'Everyone is working together'
By coordinating with volunteer organizations, it prevents multiple groups from showing up to one place at the same time, Mills said.
“Everyone is working together to get help to all hard-hit areas simultaneously,” he said. “That takes a challenging amount of coordination to do that. If that sounds challenging, it is.”
Before Ida made landfall Aug. 29 at Port Fourchon, FEMA deployed 12 teams to work with local and state agencies to support search-and-rescue missions, Mills said.
“People don’t always see it, but FEMA deployed 53 ambulances to Louisiana to support local and state ambulance operations,” he said. “If there’s a high need for ambulances, we can bring in more. It may not say ‘FEMA’ on the ambulances, but a lot of the work you’re seeing is coordinated by FEMA. You’re seeing FEMA everywhere.”
The agency said it has so far given more than $165 million in grants to Louisiana storm survivors to help them begin their recovery. FEMA has also received more than 13,500 National Flood Insurance Program claims from the storm.
“A lot of people in Louisiana have flood insurance,” Mills said. “But even if you have insurance and you need to relocate, you might still receive assistance from FEMA that could include money for rental assistance if you need to relocate temporarily due to damage to your home.”
How to apply for aid
Those who have homeowners or renters insurance are being asked to file a claim as soon as possible. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance, officials said.
If you don’t have insurance or are underinsured, you could still be eligible for federal assistance, officials said.
If you have homeowners or renters insurance, file a claim with that company first. FEMA can't legally offer aid for anything already covered under your insurance policy.
But if you don't have insurance, or it won't cover all of the damage, you can still look for aid from the federal government.
Homeowners and renters whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ida and who live in a designated parish -- including Terrebonne and Lafourche -- may be eligible for FEMA assistance for some of the repair costs.
Outreach sites opening
Uninsured applicants whose homes are uninhabitable may qualify for reimbursement of hotel costs. Keep copies of your receipts to file with your application.
FEMA will be conducting disaster survivor assistance outreach and registration from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Grand Caillou Middle School, 2161 Grand Caillou Road.
FEMA outreach sites will be announced in Lafourche in coming days, Parish President Archie Chaisson said.
The agency has not yet determined when and if FEMA mobile homes will be brought to Terrebonne and Lafourche, spokeswoman Krista Overton said Wednesday.
“At this current time I haven’t been notified that FEMA is setting down any trailers,” she said. “I know that we already started traditional sheltering assistance, which is for those people who are displaced and are looking to have their hotel room reimbursed. At this current moment they are still working out the housing details.”
The latest updates from FEMA's response to Hurricane Ida can be found at www.fema.gov/disaster/4611.
What FEMA offers
Here are some of the services FEMA will provide to help you recover:
- The quickest way to apply for FEMA assistance is by visiting disasterassistance.gov.
- Some people may be eligible for a one-time $500 payment for water, food, fuel or prescriptions. Visit disasterassistance.gov for more information.
- Tarping for damaged roofs can be found by calling 888-766-3258 or by visiting blueroof.us.
- Residents who bought or rented a generator or chainsaw between Aug. 26 and Sept. 25 may be eligible for FEMA reimbursement. Apply at disasterassistance.gov or call 800-621-3362. The agency said it will reimburse up to $800 for generators and $250 for chainsaws.
- For temporary shelter, text “LaShelter” to 898211 or call 211 to find a shelter.
- Small businesses and most nonprofit organizations can apply for low-interest disaster loans or receive additional assistance at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. You can also call 800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Renters displaced by the storm may also apply for disaster assistance. Those who have renters insurance could call their insurance providers first to file a claim, the agency said. For information, visit disasterassistance.gov.
- FEMA is paying the cost for some residents to stay in hotels for a limited time. You have to have a FEMA registration ID and approval from FEMA to participate. To register, visit disasterassistance.gov.
— Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.