By Jerry Bell, Emergency Manager
There is some news to report on the hurricanes. The registration period for FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) for Hurricane Laura has been extended until Friday, Nov. 27, so register if you have not. The FEMA people at the Police Department have been extended until Saturday, Nov. 14, in order to continue helping our local citizens.
You can continue to register online by going to disasterassistance.gov or by calling the FEMA hotline at 800-621-3362. One of the best ways is to visit the Mobile Registration Center located at the PD.
The deadline to register for FEMA assistance for Hurricane Delta is Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Presently FEMA is searching for temporary housing for thousands of survivors here in our parish. Our Mayor, Riley Smith, and Chief of Police Casey Whitehead continue to press FEMA officials on getting housing to DeQuincy. Our Mayor has offered the use of land to provide temporary housing. It is a slow process but must be accomplished.
Mayor Smith has requested that our FEMA team request a 60 day extension on reporting all our damages. More damage to our roads and infrastructure are being discovered and put in the FEMA portal.
On Monday, Nov. 9, Mayor Smith, our City Planner and other city officials met with State Officials, Senator Mike Reese and Representative Les Farnum to discuss future airport operations, the value of our airport in that it is at 81 feet elevation and that other airports nearby suffered severe damage. Our airport could really play a major role in any future disasters. Chief Whitehead wants to discuss with our Sheriff the probability of a command post being located at our airport.
The debris removal is still going on; as mentioned before, the trucks will stay here until our Mayor releases them. Our FEMA team is constantly uploading all our input into the FEMA portals requesting our reimbursements. Waiting for insurance payments often slows the process down, there are literally dozens of emails going back and forward every day to FEMA and the state.
Our FEMA team works out of the Mayor’s office and frequently meets with Mayor Smith who is staying on top of our situation. Our city is gra ually coming back to normal after the terrible blow that we took with back to back hurricanes.
One of the best paths forward is for our citizens to get as much debris to the curb as possible. If you put it out by the curb, it will be picked up. The State picks up debris along our state highways. Unfortunately that is the places where most of our businesses are located. Mayor Smith is trying to get clarification from FEMA as to who has the contract to pick up the business debris.
Our Emergency Manager, Major Jerry Bell, meets daily with our FEMA liaison officer and has a very good rapport with FEMA. The key to dealing with FEMA is having the correct paperwork and remain steadfast in your claims. FEMA people want to help but they are bound by strict regulations and guidelines.
Working daily with our FEMA team for our city, we understood early on that this was a slow process and that we had to have our paperwork in order and we had to provide the information that FEMA requested in a timely manner. This means our city employees have to continue providing information on new damages and the mitigation steps taken on our damaged property.
We are concentrating on our sewer projects as a top priority. We need to repair our city hall, fire department, and old city hall. Our museum is of top importance; then we have our streets, signs, and gas meters. There is a lot to be done to get our city back up to like it was. All our city employees are working hard every day.
Please pray for our city and our nation.
Be safe and wise