(The Center Square) – The federal government has approved Louisiana’s request to add three more parishes to the six already approved for individual disaster assistance following Hurricane Laura, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday.
Residents of Acadia, Ouachita and Vermilion parishes are eligible for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA previously approved individual assistance for Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, and Vernon parishes.
Edwards has asked FEMA to add 14 additional affected parishes to the list.
Displaced residents of approved parishes may be eligible for a one-time $500 payment. People who are unemployed as a direct result of the storm may receive $108 per week. Residents can apply at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.
Residents of the nine parishes can also apply for disaster food benefits, commonly known as D-SNAP. Families already receiving SNAP benefits do not need to re-register.
Louisiana is sheltering more than 11,000 people displaced by the storm, most in New Orleans hotels. The state is trying to avoid putting people in mass shelters because of the risk of contracting COVID-19.
The federal government is sending Louisiana 50,000 COVID-19 antigen tests which don’t need to be performed in laboratories, Edwards said. He said they may be employed in shelters or at supply distribution points.
He said the National Guard has helped open 17 COVID-19 testing sites after community testing mostly was shut down last week. Guard members also have cleared debris from more than 1,400 miles of roads and distributed 1.2 million meals, 1.2 million liters of water, and 25,000 tarps from 40 sites in 20 parishes, Edwards said.