FEMA offers guidance on if and when Hurricane Delta will be declared a disaster

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 7:01 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -It’s a question on the minds of many across Southwest Louisiana since Hurricane Delta made landfall. If and when will the area be declared a disaster?

It’s a rare occurrence for the agency to call for two disaster declarations for the same area in less than two months, all while facing a health pandemic.

“At this moment, a disaster declaration has not been issued for Hurricane Delta specifically," said FEMA Media Relations Specialist Nikki Gaskins.

On August 26th, When Hurricane Laura hit Southwest Louisiana, the area was declared a disaster two days later. With Hurricane Delta striking the same place twice, Gaskins says there’s a thin line approach to assessing the damage.

“We need to know what the damage was directly as a result of this storm. Once all the information is gathered, that goes to the governor and then the governor sends his request to the president who approves or denies disaster declaration," said Gaskins.

If the area is declared a disaster, residents will have to reapply for assistance.

“What we’re really trying to encourage people to do is to document everything. That’s the most important thing right now.”

Gaskins also mentioned that since Hurricane Laura the average grant for applicants has been about $4,000 to $5,000.

“FEMA is a piece of the puzzle but we’re certainly not the entire piece. It truly takes the state and local officials, charities to help people on the road to recovery.”

As for temporary housing and FEMA trailers.

“We hope to get them out within the month. One of the common questions we get is how many people are going to get a trailer. We have quite a few who are eligible, and they will receive a phone call from FEMA.”

Gaskins said until a disaster is declared for Hurricane Delta, it’s critical for people who have yet to apply and think that they will need disaster assistance for Hurricane Laura to go ahead and apply sooner rather than later.

What survivors need to know if they register with FEMA for more than one disaster:

  • Those who experience damage from Hurricane Delta must register again with FEMA
  • FEMA will not pay for duplicate losses but may provide help for new damage caused by a second disaster.
  • FEMA verifies disaster-caused damage by comparing inspection reports, appeal estimates, and receipts.
  • FEMA is aware of which households applied for help in Hurricane Laura. If the household applies for help after Hurricane Delta, FEMA will work with the applicant.
  • FEMA will coordinate with homeowners who report additional damage to their primary home and then experience loss at the temporary residence where they relocated due to Hurricane Laura.
  • Renters who report additional personal property damage due to the new disaster should apply using their location at the time of the second event.

Keep all receipts for repairs or replacement already completed along with related items including:

  • Home repair and replacement;
  • Repairs to a septic system, water well, or private road;
  • Purchase of a generator or chainsaw;
  • Replacement of personal property items such as appliances;
  • Transportation;
  • Insurance settlement or denial information for Laura; and
  • Use of funds for rental assistance, if applicable.

Survivors should take photos before any potential new damage from Delta and again after any new damage.

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