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Live Updates: What You Need to Know about Flooding in Louisiana

President Obama has ordered federal aid to help state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by flooding.

Watch: President Obama Meets with Louisianans Impacted by the Floods

Learn How You Can Help


President Barack Obama views a flood-damaged neighborhood and talks with residents of the Castle Place subdivision in Zachary, near Baton Rouge, LA.
President Barack Obama views a flood-damaged neighborhood and talks with residents of the Castle Place subdivision in Zachary, near Baton Rouge, La., Aug. 23, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The state of Louisiana continues to deal with a significant level of flooding and one of the worst natural disasters in recent years. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Castro and Administrator Contreras-Sweet of the Small Business Administration visited Louisiana today to meet with elected officials, response officials, and survivors to continue to support Governor Edwards’ priorities on housing and businesses.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson traveled to Louisiana last week to assess damages with Governor Edwards, federal and state responders, and the National Guard, meet with survivors in shelters, and receive an update on the response to ongoing flooding in the state. During the press conference with Governor Edwards, Secretary Johnson reiterated the President’s message that the federal government will continue to do everything we can to help the survivors and get people back into homes.

So here's what you should know about the federal response in Louisiana and the resources that you or anyone you know who is impacted by flooding can use:

Federal Response

President Obama has declared 20 parishes for a major disaster for severe storms and flooding, a declaration that makes federal funding available to affected people in Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Washington and West Feliciana. In addition to the 20 parishes, FEMA is conducting a joint federal and state damage assessment in Assumption and St. Charles.

More than 27,800 NFIP policyholders submitted claims for flood loss, and more than 122,000 individuals and households registered for assistance. FEMA approved more than $205 million in financial support to flood survivors in Louisiana. This total includes more than:

  • $155 million to help survivors with temporary rental assistance, essential home repairs, and other disaster-related needs
  • $55 million in advanced payments to flood insurance policyholders who sustained damages and have filed a claim

Here's how FEMA is leading the coordination of federal assistance on the ground in Louisiana:

  • More than 2,400 federal staff are on the ground in Louisiana supporting flood response activities.
  • FEMA provided more than 740,000 liters of water, 635,000 meals, 12,800 cots, and 12,500 blankets to Louisiana for distribution to survivors.
  • More than 270 Disaster Survivor Assistance Team members are on the ground and at shelters to address immediate and emerging needs of disaster survivors including: on-site registration, applicant status checks, on-the-spot needs assessments, and access to partners offering survivors services.
  • FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) personnel and equipment are deployed to support the state with secure and non-secure voice, video, and information services to support emergency response communications needs. This includes 48 MERS personnel, 19 Mobile Communications Office Vehicles (MCOV), and 51 additional vehicles.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation made $2 million in emergency relief funds immediately available through the Federal Highway Administration to help repair roads and bridges in the affected areas. The funds will also help stabilize structures to prevent further damage and set up detours until permanent repairs are completed.
  • The Corporation for National Community Service deployed more than 600 AmeriCorps members, including FEMA Corps and AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams, to support shelter operations, home clean-up operations, survivor call centers and disaster survivor assistance teams.
  • The American Red Cross shelters are housing approximately 2,500 people in 18 community shelters. Since the flooding began last week, ARC provided more than 45,000 overnight stays in shelters and served more than 356,000 meals and snacks, and 126,000 relief items. More than 2,500 ARC personnel, many of whom are volunteers, are supporting the flood response effort.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is assisting both the Louisiana Department of Health and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality with flood debris removal and ensuring the water systems can provide safe drinking water. The state continues to test 46 water systems that impact more than 15,000 households.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services activated its Emergency Prescription Assistance Program to pay for prescriptions and medical equipment for disaster survivors without health insurance. Louisiana patients may obtain a free 30-day supply of medications or medical supplies at any participating pharmacy here

Housing Assistance

The state of Louisiana, with funding support from FEMA, is launching the Shelter at Home program. This allows residents who qualify to safely live in their own homes as temporary shelters while they plan and carry out permanent repairs. Detailed information, guidelines, and online pre-registration for the Shelter at Home program will be available on Monday, Aug. 29, at

In addition to the state’s Shelter at Home program, the Multi Family Lease and Repair Program may provide funds to make rental units livable again in order to lease them to provide temporary housing to eligible disaster survivors. Interested property owners can call 225-382-1464 or email

FEMA activated its Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program to make participating hotels or motels available for eligible disaster survivors who are currently residing in a personal vehicle, hotel or motel, shelter, or place of employment. There are more than 1,120 households checked into hotels and motels under the program. 

FEMA completed more than 27,900 home inspections. Additionally, FEMA is also using Geographic Information System (GIS) housing data to determine inaccessibility based on the location of an applicant’s address.

Open for Business

The National Business Emergency Operations Center is working in coordination with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce National Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center and nearly 60 national companies engaged in assisting survivors in the Louisiana flooding with donations of time, money, services, and goods to relief organizations. These companies are also deploying teams to help efforts on the ground, waiving fees, reducing costs for clean-up supplies, and many other forms of help.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has six business recovery centers open, one in Livingston Parish, one in Tangipahoa Parish, one in Ascension Parish, two in East Baton Rouge Parish and one in Lafayette Parish. SBA is providing low-interest loans to Louisiana survivors and businesses to assist with uninsured and underinsured flood-related losses. The SBA received 2,841 applications and approved $14 million in disaster loans.

Apply for Assistance

how to file a claim with FEMADisaster Recovery Centers (DRC) will continue to open in locations identified by the state to provide information to survivors. Thirteen Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) are open in Ascension, Baton Rouge, Iberia, St. Helena, St. Martin, Tangipahoa, and West Feliciana parishes where survivors can apply for assistance and meet face-to-face with recovery specialists.

Disaster survivors do not need to go to a DRC in order to receive disaster assistance. To find the nearest Disaster Recovery Center, visit, use the FEMA Mobile Application or text DRC and your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA).

If you are a resident or business owner who has sustained losses in the designated parishes, you can apply for assistance from FEMA by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The numbers are toll-free, and will operate from 7am to 10pm (local time) seven days a week until further notice. 

First and foremost, you should return home only when authorities indicate it is safe. 

If you can safely return to your home, and have filed an insurance claim or applied for FEMA assistance: 

  • Be ready when an adjuster or housing inspector calls
  • Take pictures
  • Make a list
  • Remove water damaged items to prevent mold
  • Don't have damaged items hauled away until adjuster or inspector sees or gives the ok

An important note: When cleaning up your home, assume everything touched by flood water is contaminated and will have to be disinfected. Residents who are able to start cleaning up should do so with care. 

If you are a veteran and your home has been impacted by the floods, the VA has provided guidance on how to ensure you receive the assistance you need here

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) has activated its Disaster Distress helpline. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress.

Apply Now


If you're in impacted parishes, you can also download FEMA's app to your smartphone so you can locate and get directions to open shelters across the state, and receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States. 

In addition to FEMA, the state of Louisiana has set up a Resources for Flood Victims page at

Get The App


Helpful Phone Numbers

Apply for FEMA Individual Assistance via phone 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time seven days a week:

  • 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
  • People who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585
  • For those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362

National Flood Insurance Program: Call 1-800-621-3362 Monday to Friday 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. and select Option 2

Pet Rescue/Triage: 225-952-8168

Register for free home cleanup assistance: 1-800-451-1954

To find out if your loved one is in a state-run shelter: 225-219-5452

To find out if your loved one is in a Red Cross shelter: 1-866-438-4636

Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990

All Veterans Benefits Questions: 1-800‐827‐1000

Learn more about what you can do to prepare for, respond to, and address the impacts of flooding in your neighborhood here: 

Be Prepared


And if you want to do what you can to help the people of Louisiana get back on their feet, you can visit to see how you can contribute to the response and recovery efforts.

Learn How You Can Help


Sean Griffin is the Director for Incident Management Integration Policy in the National Security Council.