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Louisiana Flood: DHS Johnson enroute, Obama update, AG Sec. Strain, Response Panel set Thursday
Written by  // Wednesday, 17 August 2016 14:10 // News//
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dhs johnsonLouisiana flood notes for August 17, 2016:

Obama's briefing with FEMA head--Secretary of DHS on the way, LANO's Disaster Response Panel, Infrastructure causes, Dept. of Agriculture and destroyed Louisiana crops.

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

This morning, the President spoke with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, who traveled to Louisiana yesterday, to receive an update on the response to ongoing flooding in the state. In the latest of a series of updates the President has been receiving since the weekend, Administrator Fugate briefed the President on the resources that have been provided to support the response and recovery, including federal assistance available to individuals who have been impacted and FEMA Corps volunteers. The President directed Administrator Fugate to utilize all resources available to assist in the response and recovery and asked to be regularly briefed on the ongoing response. In addition, DHS Secretary Johnson will visit the impacted region on Thursday to review the ongoing response.

Earlier this week, the President spoke with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to let him know that he had approved a Major Disaster Declaration for affected parishes in Louisiana. FEMA has been on the ground in the region since before the flooding began and continues to mobilize across the state to respond to emergency needs and to assist with recovery including getting people into temporary housing. Already more than 70,000 people have registered for individual assistance under the federal disaster declaration and over 9,000 have filed flood insurance claims.

LANO'S RESPONSE PANEL

​We know many of you are working to pick up the pieces and LANO has been asked by many nonprofit organizations for assistance with resources and guidance on next steps and we navigate through this disaster.

LANO will host a Disaster Response Panel with presenters from Volunteer Louisiana, United Way, Salvation Army, LSU Law School and more on Thursday, August 18that the Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge. This panel will discuss current disaster response efforts and next steps as they relate to Louisiana's nonprofits.

If you would like to attend this panel, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.&">register//www.lano.org/link.asp?

LANO has also created a Forum through our network for nonprofit organizations to share information, resources and needs. You can access this forum by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.&">clicking//www.lano.org/link.asp? Please know that you must be signed into our system to post to the forum.

 

FROM LA. BUDGET PROJECT


As South Louisiana starts recovering from this week's catastrophic floods, attention is also shifting to unfinished flood prevention infrastructure projects. A diversion canal project, on the books for at least 16 years when several parishes approved a property tax, may have prevented some of this past week's flooding, yet was never completed due to lack of funds. The Advocate's Steve Hardy reports:

At last count, the Army Corps estimated the canal would cost somewhere around $211 million. U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, an advocate for the canal, said the whole process is "broken." "What is so frustrating about this is ... you spend billions of dollars after a disaster instead of millions of dollars before," Graves said. The Army Corps has said that the canal has not been dug because they have never received sufficient funding. Graves, however, has accused the Corps of dragging its feet and earlier this year called for them to be booted off the project so it could be given to the state or the Basin Commission.

With 40,000 homes affected along the I-10 and I-12 corridors, it is clear that flood control is no longer just a coastal and Mississippi River problem. Northern and Central Louisiana faced their own disasters earlier this year. These events are likely to unify state leaders behind efforts to get more money from Washington. But it will further pit regions against each other for infrastructure funding in the state capital outlay budget. Jeremy Alford has more on the tasks ahead for state leadership:

On the state level, coastal lawmakers who have traditionally pursued flood protection projects through the state's capital outlay program, for annual construction needs, will soon be joined by their colleagues from Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Shreveport and elsewhere. It's already a competitive process, with only so much money to go around, and determining which regions have the greatest need will be a monumental task. There are all sorts of expenses to come for a state dealing with one budget deficit after another. Roads and bridges will need repairs, along with other state-owned properties.

COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND LA. CROPS

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., says pay close attention to the Federal Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) warnings pertaining to crops exposed to flood waters.

According to the FDA, the edible portion of a crop exposed to flood waters is considered adulterated under section 402(a)(4) (21 U.S.C. 342(a)(4)) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and should not be consumed. The FDA recommends that these crops be disposed of in a manner that ensures they are kept separate from crops that have not been flood damaged to avoid adulterating "clean" crops.

The food crops include but are not limited to:

Surface crops such as leafy greens, tomatoes, string beans, berries, and corn
Underground crops, such as peanuts, potatoes, carrots, and garlic
Crops with a hard outer skin or shell, such as watermelon and winter squash
Grains, nuts, corns, and similar products stored in bulk
This morning, the President spoke with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, who traveled to Louisiana yesterday, to receive an update on the response to ongoing flooding in the state. In the latest of a series of updates the President has been receiving since the weekend, Administrator Fugate briefed the President on the resources that have been provided to support the response and recovery, including federal assistance available to individuals who have been impacted and FEMA Corps volunteers. The President directed Administrator Fugate to utilize all resources available to assist in the response and recovery and asked to be regularly briefed on the ongoing response. In addition, DHS Secretary Johnson will visit the impacted region on Thursday to review the ongoing response.

Earlier this week, the President spoke with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to let him know that he had approved a Major Disaster Declaration for affected parishes in Louisiana. FEMA has been on the ground in the region since before the flooding began and continues to mobilize across the state to respond to emergency needs and to assist with recovery including getting people into temporary housing. Already more than 70,000 people have registered for individual assistance under the federal disaster declaration and over 9,000 have filed flood insurance claims.

For crops that were in or near flooded areas but where flood waters did not contact the edible portions of the crops, the growers should evaluate the safety of the crops for human consumption on a case-by-case basis for possible adulteration.

“Food safety is a top priority for the LDAF. If any producer has questions or concerns, please contact our office for guidance,” said Strain.

Flood waters may have been exposed to sewage, chemicals, heavy metals, pathogenic microorganisms or other contaminants. Therefore, knowledge of the sources of flood waters and any possible upstream contributors of human pathogens and/or chemical contaminants will help evaluate the likelihood of crop contamination by flood waters.

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