John Bel Edwards won’t echo state leaders call for blue roof expansion; latest on Ida recovery | Baton Rouge

Governor John Bel Edwards said Tuesday he is not ready to echo complaints from Louisiana’s congressional delegation that federal officials are too restrictive on which parishes qualify for temporary roofs in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

“I can’t tell you I’m worried today,” Edwards told reporters. “That may change if I know if more parishes have been added.”

A total of 15 parishes have been authorized by FEMA to get temporary roofs under the Blue Roof program.

But 10 parishes declared disaster areas were excluded, including East Baton Rouge Parish.

Louisiana Congress leaders on Monday asked federal officials to review the criteria for which parishes will be given temporary roofs after East B…

U.S. Representatives Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson and three others in the congressional delegation sent a letter Monday to FEMA administrator Deane Criswell. It asked the agency to revise its criteria so that more parishes qualify for the fiber-reinforced sheeting designed to keep homes dry until permanent repairs are made.

Edwards said he has not seen the criteria used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers to determine which parishes are eligible.

He said the force had previously told him parishes exposed to hurricane-force winds are eligible.

The first roofs will be installed on Wednesday, weather permitting. The work is being performed by contractors led by FEMA and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

About 40,000 households have applied for the temporary roofs and an official said on Monday the list of applications could grow to 70,000 households.

The 15 parishes approved for blue roofs are Ascension, Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Terrebonne.

The parishes declared disaster areas, but not covered by the blue roofs, are East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. Martin, St. Mary, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana .

The governor made his comments during a 75-minute briefing on efforts to recover from the hurricane, nine days after the Category 4 storm arrived near Port Fourchon.

Edwards said the death toll from the hurricane has risen to 15 with the deaths of a 68-year-old man who fell from his roof during repairs and a 71-year-old man who died from lack of oxygen during a power outage.

The death toll from Hurricane Ida in Louisiana rose to 13 when a 74-year-old man from New Orleans was killed, Governor John Bel Edwards said Sunday.

Both were residents of St. Tammany Parish.

Edwards said about 435,000 customers are without power, meaning individuals struggling without electricity are three or four times higher, given that a customer can be a house with several family members.

About 25,000 state residents stay in hotels under a federal program that pays for rooms and taxes.

FEMA has paid approximately $175 million in emergency aid.

133,000 households qualify for $500 hurricane relief checks, officials say

Federal officials have paid $66 million to Hurricane Ida survivors who sought $500 checks for food, water and other urgent needs.

Stephen Russo, general counsel for the Louisiana Department of Health, said an extensive investigation is underway after major problems emerged when seven nursing homes in the New Orleans area were evacuated to a warehouse.

Russo said that when LDH employees tried to check on the evacuated nursing home residents on Tuesday, they were “intimidated” by someone who claimed to own a nursing home.

He said that at the time state officials were told by the owner that he had a plan in place and that everything was in order.

“That’s not what we found when we were on the ground,” Russo said.

The seven houses are owned by Baton Rouge businessman Bob Dean.

Officials also set out benefits for 18 parishes with residents who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Those whose cases were certified before August 29 will receive a 55% replacement of the August benefit due to power outages that affected at least half of the parish. The benefits will be loaded onto EBT cards by September 11.

The parishes are Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne and Washington.

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