BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — President Joe Biden has issued a major disaster declaration for Louisiana because of last month’s icy weather. The move announced Tuesday frees up federal recovery assistance for certain parishes. The winter storms knocked out power and water across parts of Louisiana for up to a week. Biden’s disaster declaration covers Feb. 11 through 19. Federal aid will be available across 23 parishes. It includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-interest loans for property losses and other assistance for individuals and businesses. Other dollars will be available to state and local government agencies for their emergency response work and other mitigation measures.
Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration due to damage in Louisiana from February’s winter weather event has been approved by President Joseph R. Biden. A system of heavy rains, wintry precipitation, and freezing temperatures began moving across Louisiana on February 11, 2021, and a second, similar system, followed on February 17, 2021. The impacts of the wintry precipitation and low temperatures, some of the lowest ever recorded in the region, posed a serious threat to the lives and property of the people of Louisiana. There were major power outages and outages to water systems, impacting roughly one-quarter of the Louisiana population.
“We appreciate President Biden’s approval for this assistance. Winter weather events on this magnitude or not a common for Louisiana,” said Gov. Edwards. “These storms brought considerable damage to the impacted areas. This will allow the state and our federal partners to continue assisting families with recovery from these events.”
The Major Disaster Declaration includes this specific support:
INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE (Assistance to individuals and households):
Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, Franklin, Grant, LaSalle, Madison, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Webster, West Carroll, and Winn Parishes.
PUBLIC ASSISTANCE (Assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities):
Emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance approved for all 64 parishes within the State of Louisiana.
HAZARD MITIGATION GRANT PROGRAM (Assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards):
All areas in the State of Louisiana are eligible for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
Note: The following parishes are still pending with FEMA for Individual Assistance: Caldwell, East Carroll, Jackson, Lincoln, Morehouse, Tensas, Union and Vernon. GOHSEP is working with FEMA and the parishes to gather additional information for FEMA’s review.
A Major Disaster Declaration can only be requested following a disaster. The Governor previously declared a state of emergency on February 11, 2021, and requested the Major Disaster Declaration on February 26, 2021.