Residents urged to report flood damage
With more than 265 homes under water, the most important thing people can do is continue to report in to FEMA.
“We still have not been qualified as a disaster area,” Richland Parish Police Jury parish manager Larry Wheeler said, “but they are looking at us and we should qualify. But people need to continue to report their damage.”
People should report storm and flood damage to FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362. Even those who have already called because of Gustav should call again if Ike caused more damage, FEMA officials say.
“When you call, they’ll tell you that we’re not eligible,” Wheeler said, “but they’ll put your information into the database and that’s part of what makes us eligible.”
Wheeler added he had spoken with officials who said part of the delay in getting Richland Parish declared as a federal disaster area was that FEMA teams were in the midst of evaluating the parish when they were called away to deal with Ike.
“I’m meeting with people GOSEP and FEMA this week and the people who have looked at us so far say we should have no problem qualifying,” Wheeler added.
Meanwhile, he said, the police jury is working to get the water off people and keep it off.
“Right now we are dealing with some back water and there are a couple of places we’re opening up to get that down,” he said.
The police jury has made a priority of working with drainage along Cow Bayou and Little Creek.
Richland Parish has been cleared to receive federal public assistance funds which the police jury can use to repair damage the storm caused to public property.
“Fortunately, we didn’t have any parish buildings damaged,” Wheeler said. “But we had roads that we’d just black topped and when they go under water and people drive over them before they sealed, it doesn’t take long before they fall apart.”
The public assistance money should pay for 75 percent of the cost of this type of repair.
“That’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow,” Wheeler said on Tuesday. “I’ll meet with officials and we’re assessing the damage and seeing how much we have to do to fix that problem.”