Disaster relief headed to Webster

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Federal assistance is about to start coming in as President Barack Obama has signed the federal order to get some assistance to the hardest hit areas in north Louisiana.

People are being asked to call the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office at 377-1515 to report damages. Include name, address, town, how much water was inside the home or business, whether it is a primary dwelling, camp or rental property, if it is insured for flooding, residential or commercial.

The sheriff’s office is asking those affected by the floods to photograph everything and mark the highest water line before the water recedes.

The state has been awarded individual and public assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Director of Webster Parish Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness John Stanley said.

“We are taking information and they need to call the sheriff’s office to make sure we don’t miss anyone,” he emphasized. “We’ll start registering people and getting some help.”

A Disaster Recovery Center will open next week so that flood victims can get the help they need, whether it is a home, private business or local government building, he said.

To register, call 1-800-621-3362 or go to their website at www.disasterassistance.gov.

“All the federal aid available have representatives there and they will be there to go through whatever you qualify for,” Stanley said. “And they will sign you up for whatever you need.”

The state is under a declaration of emergency, issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards Wednesday.

Minden Mayor Tommy Davis says all roads are open within the corporate limits and crews are working to fix any damage to infrastructure.

“There’s still some issues with low-lying areas, but there’s no water on any streets,” he said. “We’re working as fast as we can to clean up the drainage so that water will continue to flow.”

Davis reiterated the importance of documenting and reporting any damage they have, because that will help determine the level of federal assistance.

“Documentation is important,” Davis said. “They need to take as many pictures as they can and document how high the water was in the house.”

The City of Minden will be included in the application for federal assistance, Davis said.

Lake Bistineau, one of the hardest hit areas, is cresting, according to figures from the National Weather Service. As of Sunday morning, lake levels were just over 150 feet, a foot more than was originally predicted. NWS officials say falling levels will be slow.

Sen. Ryan Gatti, District 36, says he went to the Lake Bistineau Dam Sunday, and following an assessment, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development reports some “slippage of dirt but no structural damage at this time.”

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