The death toll from historic flooding rose to eight Tuesday as sweeping floodwaters that have damaged more than 40,000 homes continued to overwhelm Baton Rouge and much of southern Louisiana.
More than 20,000 people have been rescued since Friday, including 15,000 in the Greater Baton Rouge parish of Livingston. More than 8,000 people spent Monday night in shelters, Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
Eight additional parishes have been approved for inclusion in the federal disaster declaration, bringing the total number to 12, Edwards said. More parishes will be added as officials are able to quantify the devastation, he said.
About 40,000 people have registered for disaster assistance, Edwards said. “Nobody is going to be forgotten, and we are going to be working around the clock and doing everything possible to render aid,” Edwards said.
The declaration makes federal money available for rent of temporary housing as well as for covering costs of home repairs not covered by insurance. Edwards said more than 40,000 homes were damaged, although numbers reported from local officials indicated that estimate could be low.
Flooding began over the weekend, and Edwards said emergency officials remain in search and rescue mode. They’re shuttling people to safe, higher ground and shelters when necessary.
Scores of roads have been washed out, and dry spots often made it impossible for boats to get through, delaying some rescue efforts. That’s leading to a great deal of frustration for the so-called “Cajun Navy” of volunteers trying to help.
SOURCE: John Bacon