August 20, 2016 9:31:23 pm
The devastating flood in Louisiana, that has damaged about 40,000 houses and killed at least 13 people, is the worst natural disaster to strike the US since Hurricane Sandy four years ago, according to the Red Cross. “Thousands of people in Louisiana have lost everything they own and need our help now,” said Brad Kieserman, the aid group’s vice president of disaster services operations and logistics.
“This disaster is the worst to hit the US since Superstorm Sandy, and we anticipate it will cost at least USD 30 million – a number which may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation.” An estimated 40,000 houses have been damaged and 86,000 people have applied for federal disaster aid in the wake of the disaster.
The calamity struck quickly and ferociously. In one part of Livingston Parish, more than 31 inches of rain fell in 15 hours. At least 13 people have died across five parishes. And with more rain forecast, the destruction could mount. President Barack Obama has directed Federal mergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Craig Fugate to “utilise all resources available to assist in the response and recovery,” the White House said.
Obama has declared at least 20 parishes as disaster areas. But Obama has been criticised for continuing his vacation at Martha’s Vineyard instead of visiting the flood zone. The president “wants to ensure that his presence does not interfere with ongoing recovery efforts”; the governor had previously said he wasn’t upset that the president hadn’t announced plans to visit, for precisely that reason, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
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The US Coast Guard, National Guard, local emergency responders and even neighbours have helped rescue more than 30,000 residents and 1,400 pets. On Thursday, some residents returned to their homes, only to find their belongings soaked and destroyed. Heaps of drenched furniture, mattresses and toys were piled up on lawns as owners struggled to find anything salvageable.
Governor John Bel Edwards said at least 40,000 homes have suffered at least some damage. He called on volunteers to help clean out mud from homes. The Red Cross has also asked for donations to help more than 7,000 people in emergency shelters. “Thousands more are without power in hot, humid conditions,” the aid group said.
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