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South Louisiana flooding: Where to go, how to get help

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The following resources may be helpful to employees during the aftermath of the recent flooding in South Louisiana.

Shelters

To see updated lists of shelters across south Louisiana, visit http://gov.louisiana.gov/news/shelter-information-for-parishes-affected-....

State and Federal Assistance

Key federal disaster aid programs can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the State of Louisiana. Learn more at http://www.myarklamiss.com/news/local-news/summary-of-federal-aid-for-lo....

How to Apply for Assistance

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Disaster Food Stamps:  If you think your household could be impacted by damages or lost wages due to a hurricane or other disaster, per-register online or by phone for DSNAP. DSNAP provides eligible low- to moderate-income households - who do not normally receive SNAP benefits - with help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.

How to Pre-Register: Visit http://www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/preregister or call 1-888-LAHELP-U

Provide the following information:

  • Names, Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth for each household member
  • Address and Parish where you currently live
  • Monthly income for each household member
  • All liquid resources for each household member (cash on hand, checking, savings)

After an emergency, visit a DSNAP site to verify your information and identity and receive your benefit card if you qualify.

If you already receive SNAP benefits and are eligible for disaster benefits, you do not need to pre-register, as benefits will be added to your benefit card automatically.

Pre-registering does not guarantee benefits. DSNAP is only administered after a federally declared disaster and after the state receives approval from the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services to activate DSNAP services.

After a disaster is declared, residents who have pre-registered only need to visit a DSNAP issuance site to verify their information and identity, determine final eligibility and receive their benefit cards. Eligibility requirements and DSNAP locations will be announced at the time of a disaster.

You may name an Authorized Representative to go to a DSNAP site on your behalf. Accommodations will be made for the elderly and those with disabilities to reduce on-site wait times.

Information By Parish

Lafayette Parish

DAMAGE: Everyone affected by the flooding (any damage even if minimal) who live in Lafayette Parish, please call and report any damage.

Here's the phone number: (337) 291-5075. This is the info that's being reported directly to FEMA.

DONATIONS: The United Way is accepting donations at its office at 215 E. Pinhook in Lafayette. No clothes are needed at this time. There is a high need for pillows, blankets, diapers, baby food and formula, toilet paper, bottled water and non-perishable food items.

If you want to donate but you can't get to the United Way, you can call Takeout Express.Several drivers have volunteered today to pick up items from your home to bring to local drop off locations.
Please call (337)237-6368 and ask for our manager, Shane. Please bear with us as we discover which roads and intersections are passable.
Items needed are: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, baby wipes and diapers, sweatpants, blankets and shoes.

SUPPLIES: The Bayou Church is gathering a list of needs from those most affected by the flood. We will help where we can.

The church is accepting donations including bedding, diapers, clothing, canned goods, and wipes until 8 PM Sunday evening and from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Monday in the Kids Area of our Ministry Center (2234 Kaliste Saloom Road).

People who have suffered losses because of the flood also can stop by to get help at the church.

SHELTER: Unity Events Center at 211 J.B. Road in Scott is accepting evacuees and donations. They have lots of room and can accept donations of clothing, food and personal items for people who are displaced by the floods. For information, call 981-8954. Spokeswoman Loretta Perrot said the facility is very large and donations of clothing, personal items, blankets, food, etc., are welcome.

The American Red Cross – Acadiana Chapter  has established a temporary, emergency shelter at the Heymann Convention Center, located at 1373 S. College Rd., for Lafayette Parish residents who have been evacuated from their homes as a result of Friday’s flooding. Citizens needing temporary housing at the shelter should provide a state-issued ID to show proof of residence within Lafayette Parish.

Anyone evacuating to the shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family, as possible:

  • Prescriptions and emergency medications
  • Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements
  • Identification to show residence is in affected area and important personal documents
  • Hygiene supplies and other comfort items
  • Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys
  • Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled
  • Chargers for any electronic devices

Pets cannot be brought to the temporary shelter and residents will need to make alternate arrangements for the care of animals. The pet shelter location will be at Blackham Coliseum, although the pet’s owners are fully responsible for their care, including feeding and watering. Service animals are allowed at the temporary shelter.

Local hotels are offering special weekend rates for those affected by flooding. For the most up-to-date listing of hotel rates and availability, visit http://www.lafayettetravel.com/hotels/specials  The American Red Cross also reminds homeowners to check with their insurance agent to determine if they are covered for emergency housing. These hotel charges could be reimbursable.

In Lafayette, United Way of Acadiana is managing volunteer and donation efforts to match needs with available resources. Visit http://www.unitedwayofacadiana.org for more information about relief and recovery efforts.

As residents begin to return to their homes, LCG recommends the following ways to stay safe and optimize the efficiency of utilities during this time:

  • If your home was flooded or flood waters were close to the home, use caution when reentering. Turn the electricity and gas off before returning into the home, and do not use any electronic appliances which may have been submerged until they have been dried.
  • If any structural concerns are suspected, as is often the case when waters rise, residents are advised not to enter the home until a licensed professional has assisted in a home inspection.

Individuals able to return home may be interested in beginning the process of assessing the damage to property.

Residents should also make contact with their insurance provider as soon as possible and follow all instructions from the carrier to ensure full compliance with their procedures.

Residents are encouraged to take photographs of all damage to property as well as keep receipts for any expenditures.

As cleanup begins, residents are asked to keep debris, including furniture, appliances and construction materials, out of ditches as waters may rise again over the next few days. More information about debris pick up will be coming in the next few days.

Parish officials urge all residents against sharing any personal details, including social security numbers, with individuals claiming to represent FEMA or other federal, state or local agencies.

FEMA has not yet issued a disaster declaration for the Lafayette area. Should this rain event qualify for such a declaration, FEMA will then establish a process, including a phone number to call, for those affected to make a claim. LCG will disseminate any information on FEMA claims when it becomes available.

If a FEMA declaration is made, parish officials will be prepared to open up a Disaster Recovery Center to assist in the claims process.

Iberia Parish Information

SHELTER: The Red Cross shelter is still open at Cyr­-Gates Recreational Center in New Iberia's City Park. Anyone needing evacuation to the shelter or assistance leaving their homes should call 911.

Vermilion Parish Information

SHELTER: A. A. Comeaux Park is the only shelter that remains open in the parish.  The shelter in Kaplan at Rene Rost Elementary is now closed.  All evacuees will be sent to A. A. Comeaux Park.

The shelter is in need of donations of non-perishable food items and bottled water. To get to the shelter, a truck is required because of water. To get to Abbeville, La. 14 is passable, but only by truck. If anyone has donations but can't get to the shelter to drop them off, they should call 898-4308.

OEP leaders urge evacuees to wait until law enforcement officials say it's safe to return to their homes before they do return.

St. Landry Parish

The St. Landry Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness is asking any resident of St. Landry Parish that experienced damages from flooding to their residence on August 12-14, 2016, please call damage information to St. Landry Parish Government at (337) 948-3688, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 9 am to 4 pm.

The information collected will be used for assessing damages sustained to residential dwellings.  

What To Do When You Get Home

For tips on filing claims from the National Flood Insurance Program, visit https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/after_a....

The NFIP advises that anyone suffering damage do the following:

  • If your home has suffered damage, call your insurance agent to file a claim.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
  • Take photos of any floodwater in your home and save any damaged personal property.
  • Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their purchase date and value with receipts, and place with the inventory you took prior to the flood. Some damaged items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Boil water for drinking and food preparation until authorities tell you that your water supply is safe.
  • Prevent mold by removing wet contents immediately.
  • Wear gloves and boots to clean and disinfect. Wet items should be cleaned with a pine-oil cleanser and bleach, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.
  • Here are some tips for folks who have water-damaged furniture from George Parker, owner/operator of Parker Woodworks, a full service professional furniture restoration shop in Lafayette.

How To Stabilize Water-Damaged Furniture

1) Assess the construction of each piece of furniture.
  a) Particle board furniture will not be worth the restoration efforts as the particle board will break apart once it is dried, and can hold mold and mildew giving way to a possible health hazard.
  b) Hard wood furniture can withstand these harsh conditions, and in most cases, can be restored back to pre-flood condition if treated properly immediately after being under water

2) Once you have determined that your furniture is hardwood in construction, please follow these steps to stabilize the furniture during the times you will be focusing your attention on your homes structure.
  a) Using a garden hose, wash away all of the sediment that has settled on the furniture. If it is a cabinet piece with drawers, attempt to remove the drawers and the contents. If the drawers are stuck, you may need to remove the back of the cabinet in order to push the drawer box out, causing the least damage to the drawer box. Once you have removed the contents and the drawers, you may then rinse out the piece and the drawers as much as possible. In order to prevent or kill mold or mildew, you may use a spray bottle and mix of 10% Clorox, and 90% water, allows it to soak in, and then rinse with fresh water. Remember, it has already been wet, so you will not hurt it further. You may also remove any hardware like drawer pulls or hinges to prevent rust from staining the wood. This also gives you a chance to dry the hardware and save it for use after restoration of the finish.
  b) Once you have washed away sediment and the like, you will want to air dry the piece. Do not use the sun to dry wet furniture! If you have power, you can use fans to dry the piece in the carport, garage or other shaded area. Sun drying wood will cause the individual components to warp, twist or crack, making restoration efforts more complicated, and time consuming. If you are without power, which is likely, then please air dry your furniture in the same shaded areas. Placing it away from the house in the shaded area of the yard will give way to more air circulation, being sure to avoid direct sunlight.
  c) Once the furniture is dry, you may want to secure a climate controlled storage locker, to store your furniture while focusing your efforts on restoring your homes structure. This will be a good time to contact a reputable furniture refinishing or restoration shop, for damage assessment, and the cost to refinish or restore your valued pieces.

3) There is hope for your water damaged furniture, so in your stressed state of mind, please do not discard your cherished heirloom pieces without careful consideration to keeping these pieces and having them restored.

4) Lastly and very important: Do not place you furniture near the road at any time if you wish to keep it. Salvage people will likely be coming to the area to confiscate discarded furniture to sell at a future date. Only place near the road if you think you will not want it later. Many people discarded furniture following the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita, only to regret it later.

For questions about stabilizing or restoring your heirloom furniture or antiques, call Parker WoodWords M-F, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at 337-232-0306, or visit the website at http://www.parkerwoodworks.com/.

Tax Extension

A one-month filing and payment extension is available to Louisiana taxpayers affected by recent severe storms and flooding.

The extension applies to Louisiana tax returns and payments due August 15, 2016. The extended deadline is September 15, 2016.

For returns and payments submitted by the extended deadline, the Louisiana Department of Revenue will waive any late filing penalties, late payment penalties and interest that would otherwise apply.

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