Residents urged to report damage

Officials are urging flood victims to report damage to their homes and property, no matter how small.
Director of Homeland Security and Office of Emergency Preparedness John Stanley says the disaster survivor assistance team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will continue to be at the Courthouse Annex in Minden through Wednesday, March 16, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

“Their job is to register citizens who have not registered for whatever reason,” he said at a Webster Parish Police Jury special meeting Tuesday. “At the time they register, they will get information on what they qualify for and what they don’t. There is another process that will follow after that.”

He says a Disaster Recovery Center will be opened where FEMA will have several agencies represented to assist individuals to find out what they qualify for. Some things a flood victim might not qualify for would qualify for something else under a different agency, he said.

“By the time you go through that DRC, you know everything you qualify for and what needs to be done to go through that process,” he said.

He did not say when the next team would be in Webster Parish as he had no timeline, but did say through the next few days, he and other officials will focus on the victims of Lake Bistineau.

“Were going to try to contact everybody on the lake within the next couple of days,” he said, adding at least 240 to 250 people have already called in and left their information to register for federal assistance.

Jenny Reynolds, with the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, explained that while FEMA will be in the parish for the next several weeks, each team serves a different purpose. This is why if a flood victim has not registered by phone or their website, it is important to register at the Courthouse Annex.

“The registration process is not too complicated but it does prompt some questions, so when they are doing it online or by the phone with an automated approach, some people struggle with how to answer certain questions,” she said. “That is why we have been here to assist people with that process, if they’ve struggled to do it on their own.”

Stanley says if anyone missed the two days at the Courthouse Annex, they can still register by the phone or online.

To register over the phone, call 1-800-621-3362. To register online, go to www.disasterassistance.gov.

Relief efforts also remain underway as several churches have banded together to provide food, water and supplies to the flood victims. Stanley says once the Southern Baptist Convention moves through Bossier Parish, they will make their way to Webster to continue with cleanup efforts.

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