By Major Jerry Bell, Emergency Operations Manager
We are now in week nine of Hurricane Laura and week three of Hurricane Delta. We are still in Phase II which is basically we are conducting site inspections of the various damaged sites. Our debris removal is continuing and project worksheets are being developed weekly. We have to gather all our supporting documents and determine who has the responsibility for the damaged property. More citizens are returning home thus more debris is being pushed to the front to be picked up. We are still trying to get clarification on whether or not FEMA is going to allow for the debris removal of commercial properties and private roads. As we get more information on this matter, we will make the announcements and their guidelines.
We are still working with our department heads to identify all damages and the costs to fix what was damaged. Those departments are the sewer, gas, and roads. FEMA now has to schedule site visits to assess the damages to all our facilities and systems as well as buildings and parks. This begins the process of cost estimates and will dictate a baseline for total damages. We are presently in negotiations with FEMA on their process and a formal request is being made through GOHSEP for more than virtual site assessments. The project worksheets and documentations are long and arduous but is very detrimental to ensuring project eligibility and reimbursements. In other words, a tremendous amount of paperwork for DeQuincy to complete.
The total amount of cubic yards collected is 90,225.80 and the total estimated cubic yards remaining is 9,774.40. Of course this could change as more people push their debris to the curb. Continue to push as much as you can forward. As stated earlier, the trucks will stay until all is picked up. The huge stumps will be the last picked up because special trucks will have to be brought in but our team is on top of this and will make sure they are picked up. The estimated cubic yards of vegetative debris will more than likely exceed the original estimated amounts. Our city crews are working on demolition of the large hanger at the airpark that received 100% damage.
Temporary roofs have been installed to date on several of our buildings and additional damages were received because of Hurricane Delta. Municipal roofs that have sustained damage and water intrusion are as follows: Old City Hall Museum, Railroad Museum, City Hall, Grand Avenue Gym, Police Department, and the Ball Park concession stand.
Last week, Mayor Riley Smith and his team met with several of the FEMA supervisors responsible for getting DeQuincy back on its feet. One big topic of conversation was the housing issue. The main FEMA person stated that this was a big priority for his team and that they were working hard on this issue. Mayor Smith and Chief Whitehead asked if any way possible housing could be brought to DeQuincy so that our citizens without a house could stay here with their children and not be relocated. Mayor Smith stated that he would even offer a location for housing to keep our people here. The FEMA supervisor said that he would make every effort to have this done.
At this time, he also stated that FEMA personnel would be on the ground to help people register for Hurricane Delta.
Presently, they are at the front of our Police Department assisting our people. They should stay as long as they are needed. The National Guard has moved out as their mission is completed in our area.
Presently, DeQuincy is out of the emergency state as electricity has been restored. However, there are still some houses without internet and this is being worked on. DeQuincy City Hall now has phones and internet and this helps our employees better to serve our citizens.
Hopefully, this update lets our citizens know that our Hurricane team is working hard to serve you and to help get our city back to normal. This is a long process but it must be done. One thing that makes it more difficult is the Covid situation.
Let’s all work together to help one another get through these two hurricanes and the Covid situation. May God continue to bless our great little city of DeQuincy.
Be safe and wise.