Gov. Edwards seeks federal aid for Iberville after May flooding

Staff Report

Iberville, Ascension and East Baton Rouge area among five parishes for which Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested a disaster declaration from President Joe Biden after last month’s severe flooding.

Edwards issued the request in the aftermath of severe weather that caused damage to at least 2,000 homes.

In Iberville Parish, rainfall totals exceeded 15 inches for period of May 17-21. The May rainfall average is 3.8 inches.

Gov. John Bel Edwards

Flooding was reported through much of the parish, particularly in St. Gabriel, as well as the Bayou Sorrel/Bayou Pigeon area, where an Aquadam forced evacuation of more than 1,000 residents on May 21.

Iberville Parish President Mitchell Ourso issued the following message in response to the governor’s announcement.

“To all of those impacted by the recent flooding event, the Parish President has been in constant communication with local and state agencies to ensure that the unmet needs of our Parish are properly assessed and validated, and that the right federal resources will be made available to those affected if a Federal Declaration is granted by President Biden.

“When and if a federal disaster declaration is reported by FEMA, I will ensure that resources are deployed and made available as soon as possible to the residents of Iberville Parish. Additionally, I will work to ensure that all of those affected by this flooding catastrophe will have access to the NECESSARY and CORRECT information; have knowledgeable resources to explain and help those understand the complex federal program requirements that may be available to your household. I will also work to ensure that resources and federal aid to Iberville Parish's citizens are EXPEDITED.

“We are putting the proper resources in place should a Disaster Declaration be made by the President of the United States.”

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness anticipates that damage levels exceed the actual damage reported.

Lafayette and storm-battered Calcasieu are the other parishes included in Edwards’ request for FEMA Individual Assistance.

Individual Assistance also includes aid from FEMA related to housing and other needs.

Edwards also requested Small Business Administration assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding statewide. The Governor declared a state of emergency for this disaster on May 17, 2021.

“The severe weather that quickly affected Louisiana in mid-May caused flash flooding and at least one tornado. Five people died, thousands were without power, and many businesses and schools were forced to close,” Edwards said. “In Calcasieu parish, many people who were impacted in this severe weather also faced damage from Hurricanes Laura and Delta last year, which is heartbreaking. Areas in Southeast Louisiana that flooded had similarly been affected in 2016 during historic flooding in Louisiana. We are coming off of an incredibly active hurricane season, an ongoing pandemic and facing down the next hurricane season in just a few days. I am hopeful the President will grant this disaster declaration to assist our people with their rebuilding process.”