Calcasieu officials give Friday update on recovery efforts

Calcasieu Parish
Calcasieu Parish(Calcasieu Parish)
Updated: Aug. 28, 2020 at 12:49 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Calcasieu officials gave updates on their recovery efforts at their 11:30 a.m. meeting this morning.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso says there has been catastrophic damage to the area and that there will be no negotiations on curfews.

Curfew times remain 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

They have received 1,660 calls and have done 66 rescues.

Currently, hospitals are unable to work at full efficiency.

211 with United Way can be used for non-emergency situations. You can also contact the Sheriff Department’s non-emergency call center at 337-431-8068 or 337-491-3685.

For emergencies, you can still call 911.

Lake Charles Fire Chief Shawn Caldwell says a family of five is now dead from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator. This brings the total deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning to six.

Allen Wainwright with Public Works says they are currently in a push phase where they will be pushing debris to the side of the road. There are crews out there now and it will take some time to complete due to the scope of the damage. Once that phase is complete they will begin debris removal.

Margaret Harris with Entergy says people coming back to their homes must be prepared ahead of time to be without power and water for more than just a few days. There currently is no timeline on a complete restoration of electricity to the area.

It is estimated that 244,000 homes are without power in Louisiana due to the storm.

Kay Fox with BECi says they have lost all their meters. They are still assessing damage and do not have a timeline to have power lines repaired.

Phone lines are also down across Calcasieu.

DeQuincy does have active water and sewer systems but most other areas have major damage to their water systems.

For all residents that do have water, boil advisories are in place until rescinded.

Any residents that have leaks in their homes are asked to turn off their water so that water pressure can build back up.

Liz Harmon says major emergency departments are open at hospitals.

Dick Gremillion with OHSEP says that there are a lot of cell towers down making communicating with phone or radio is difficult. He asks all residents in the area to text rather than call people as this is less taxing on what limited service they have.

The damage to the area is at least two times the damage that Rita did.

Calcasieu is not safe for residents at the moment and anyone who is trying to come back to the area to stay should understand that the area’s infrastructure can not support them. There is little to nothing in the way of stores, gas, electricity, and water.

Tony Guillory says its best to cook the food you have right now unless you know its spoiled.

Mayor Nic Hunter says their water is working but that it has incredibly low pressure due to two of the water plants being offline and one being destroyed. The more people that show up and try to stay in the city will continue to tax the system and make it difficult for water pressure to build back up. Water is expected to be minimal for weeks.

Officials were worried that not enough people had heeded them about evacuations but that the low loss of life shows more people got out that they had previously thought.

Vinton Mayor Kenny Stinson says the damage is worse than Rita. Many of the homes are total disasters but there was no loss of life in Vinton.

DeQuincy Mayor Riley Smith says they have no city resources for citizens if they have issues. They advise that only residents that feel like they can be self-sufficient for the next 30 days should return home.

Iowa Mayor Paul Hesse says this will not be an overnight fix. If you come back to live there you must be self-sufficient. They hope that they will have water back up shortly since their water system made it through but its generator is damaged.

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