Louisiana Flooding Latest: 13 Dead, 40,000 Homes Damaged, 70,000 Sign Up With FEMA

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

Mary Lou Lang Contributor
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The historic flooding in Louisiana has decimated approximately 20 parishes and damaged 40,000 homes, and now the death toll has risen to 13.

Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson is scheduled to visit Baton Rouge Thursday to meet with state and local officials and review the response and recovery efforts, according to a FEMA spokesperson.

So far 70,000 flood victims have signed up for federal assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, reports USA Today.

REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky

REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky

The latest numbers include 3,332 people in shelters; more than 40,000 houses damaged or destroyed and 30,000 people rescued. Twenty parishes have now been included in the federal disaster declaration and 115 state highways are closed.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is already taking steps to ensure monetary donations go to those for which it was intended.

“The generosity and outpouring of support from fellow Louisiana residents and businesses have been amazing and humbling,” said Landry in a prepared statement. “Our office is doing all we can to ensure relief donations actually support those affected by the flooding.”

REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

The Louisiana Department of Justice has teamed with GoFundMe to add additional fraud protections.

“Louisiana is experiencing monumental devastation and tragedy,” added Landry. “We are grateful for the efforts of GoFundMe to make sure donations benefit our struggling neighbors — not fraudulent individuals or organizations.”

The attorney general’s office is also asking residents to report price-gouging and be aware of fraudulent contractors who may take advantage of flood victims when they begin to rebuild.