Elected officials call for more help in SWLA a year after Hurricane Laura

Local News

Buildings and homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, near Lake Charles, La. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (BRPROUD) – As the state braces for the next hurricane, southwest Louisiana is still recovering a year later from Hurricane Laura. Governor John Bel Edwards and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell visited Lake Charles near the anniversary of the storm.

Local leaders have been calling on the state and federal government to provide more aid to the area that has struggled to build back.

“The glaring, unacceptable, embarrassing lack of supplemental disaster aid for this community,” Mayor Nic Hunter said.

$1.3 billion was given for immediate response. But now two hurricanes, an ice storm, flooding, and a pandemic later — more help is needed.

“Those who were the most vulnerable before Hurricane Laura are ten times more vulnerable today,” Hunter said.

In July, all of the Louisiana delegation signed a letter to the budget office asking for another relief package. Senator John Kennedy attempted to add a relief aid amendment to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, but it was voted down.

“We know that our people are resilient, they are tough, and that is absolutely true but at the same time there are limits,” Gov. Edwards said.

The governor and the FEMA administrator toured Lake Charles in hopes of showing what still needs to be done and provide more information to be brought back to Washington D.C.

“There’s definitely some items that we are going to take back and see what we can do to try to expedite some of the processes that we are doing,” Criswell said.

She added that recovery takes time but the mayor said now a new hurricane season has begun and there is no more time to wait. There is still a push in Congress to get attention on southwest Louisiana to help the residents there finally rebuild their homes.

“We ask that those conversations continue, we ask that they are robust, and we simply ask that people are awarded through individual assistance what the Stafford Act says they should be awarded,” Hunter said. 

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