President Trump approves federal disaster declaration ahead of Zeta landfall

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Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at the Altoona-Blair County Airport in Martinsburg, Pa, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WDSU) — President Donald Trump has approved Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request for federal assistance related to Hurricane Zeta.

The request was approved by the president and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Tuesday evening, hours after it was submitted by Gov. Edwards.

FEMA is authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the designated areas.

“I appreciate the President’s quick approval of our request for an emergency declaration, especially since Hurricane Zeta has strengthened overnight,” Gov. Edwards said in an issued statement. “This assistance will be critical in responding to this hurricane, assisting local governments and beginning our long-term recovery efforts. Louisiana has faced an incredibly active hurricane season this year, and we have been working in partnership with the federal government and local officials since March on the response to the pandemic in addition to two major hurricanes in Southwest Louisiana.”

FEMA is authorized to provide Public Assistance Category B emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance for the parishes of Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Livingston, Lafayette, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.

FEMA is also authorized to provide Public Assistance Category B emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance for the parishes of Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Carroll, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, La Salle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, and Winn.

Additional designations may be made later based on the storms impact and the damage assessment process.

This assistance is generally provided on a 75% federal, 25% nonfederal cost-sharing basis.

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness will continue working with FEMA to ensure that reimbursement of other emergency costs will be approved as well as costs for other regions of the state should they be needed for this event.

Members of the public should monitor the news for weather updates and follow guidance from local officials about storm issues in the coming days. The governor’s office will also share updates about severe weather and COVID-19 through its texting system. People may opt-in by texting LAGOV to 67283 and sign up for phone calls by going to Smart911.

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