Monday, August 22, 2016

LOUISIANA - Historic Floods

"How Louisiana plans to rebuild after historically damaging floods" PBS NewsHour 8/18/2016


SUMMARY:  As the Louisiana flooding begins to subside, the state looks toward rebuilding.  The disaster affected over 20 parishes, including areas outside flood zones -- meaning residents there do not have flood insurance.  William Brangham speaks with Billy Nungesser, Louisiana's lieutenant governor, about how the state is planning to use FEMA funds, the help of volunteers and Red Cross shelters to recover.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  As the flood waters start to recede, the hard work of assessing and rebuilding begins.

CLEVE BROWN, Baton Rouge Resident:  Basically, we lost everything, you know, other than our lives.  Couple of hours, we probably had six-foot of water.  Water is probably one of the worst Mother Nature beasts there is.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  An estimated 40,000 homes were damaged in the flooding that inundated Baton Rouge and Lafayette, killing at least 13 people.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson got a first hand look today.

JEH JOHNSON, Secretary of Homeland Security:  The federal government is here.  We have been here.  We will be here as long as it takes to help this community recover.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Four thousand people are still living in shelters across the state.

GAIL MCGOVERN, Red Cross President and CEO:  This is the largest operation that the American Red Cross has responded to since 2012, Superstorm Sandy, and driving s around the affected area, it's really devastating.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  In the most damaged areas, only about one out of every eight homes is covered by flood insurance, because these areas weren't considered likely to flood.

CLEVE BROWN:  No one was expecting this.  This is, I mean, you can see, I might have gotten from here at it's worst to up here.  So, that's why no one was expecting it.  So, they're not going to have flood insurance.  They were, you know, they thought they were high and dry.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  More than 9,000 insurance claims have been filed so far.

For more on how Louisiana is doing, I'm joined now by the state's lieutenant governor, Billy Nungesser.  He joins us from Louisiana Public Broadcasting in Baton Rouge, where many of our colleagues there have also been flooded out of their homes.

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