Louisiana Flooding: ‘Worst Natural Disaster’ in US Since 2012

The American Red Cross, active in the recovery and relief efforts ongoing in the flooding that has devastated parts of Louisiana, has dubbed the event the “worst natural disaster” that has taken place in the United States since 2012, when Hurricane Sandy struck.

Update August 19, 2016: Homeland Security Chief Visits Flood-Ravaged Louisiana

Initially, President Obama declared four parishes within Louisiana as federal disaster areas on August 15, 2016; since then 8 more parishes have been added as federal disaster areas, with Gov. John Bel Edwards expecting at least 12 more parishes to the added to the federal list as requested by Edwards.

At a press conference held on Tuesday, August 16, 2016, Gov. Edwards urged residents to sign up for federal disaster relief, even if they parish in which they live has not yet been included in the federal disaster list.

There remains a state of emergency in the flood-affected areas, with rescue and recovery efforts still underway. Eleven deaths have been attributed to the flooding, occurring in four parishes: East Baton Rouge, Rapides, St. Helena and Tangipahoa. Rescue efforts by first responders, everyday citizens, the Coast Guard and the National Guard resulted in the safe rescue of more than 30,000 people and about 1,000 pets.

Estimates by Gov. Edwards place more than 40,000 homes damaged by water and mud, with many individuals requiring assistance to get their homes cleaned.

Concerns About Scams, Looting in the Midst of Recovery Efforts

A curfew was put into effect on Tuesday in the flood-ravaged parishes by Gov. Edwards in an effort to reduce or eliminate looting, something that often takes place by a few in the aftermath of such disasters.

Edwards also cautioned Louisiana residents that the Federal Emergency Management Agency never charges people for its services. The governor advised residents who were seeking federal assistance to recognize that if individuals came to them, claiming to be from FEMA, but asking for payment of any sort, to send those people away – scam artists often seize upon these situations and people’s anxieties to make themselves some quick money and produce no results.

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