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Lake Charles mayor on new disaster aid: ‘This is our first bite at the apple, and it’s a pretty rotten apple’

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 8:31 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - For more than a year, Southwest Louisiana pleaded for federal disaster aid, and now, it’s on the way. But Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said it’s not nearly enough.

Hunter said that he thought the amount being offered was embarrassing. As it turns out, we have to share the pot with other areas hit by disasters, even though Lake Charles was devastated by four.

“I think when the history books look back on this chapter, it’s going to be a pretty dark and ridiculous chapter in American history of natural disaster recovery,” Hunter said.

Only a portion of the total $28.6 billion will come to Louisiana to provide funding related to Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta and Ida.

“Americans who experienced a singular natural disaster and the aid that flowed from the federal government in the aftermath of those scenarios was far greater and far more robust than the pittance - the crumbs - that we are asking to be thankful for right now,” Hunter said.

It’s unclear how much funding will go to Southwest Louisiana, but Hunter said this aid package represents about 1/5 of what the state estimated the unmet need to be.

“This is our first bite at the apple, and it’s a pretty rotten apple,” Hunter said. “The state has estimated the unmet need from Laura, Delta and Zeta at over $3 billion. That’s before the winter storm and the May 17th flood.”

Hunter said he’s not turning his nose at the help, but knows Southwest Louisiana needs so much more.

“I’m thankful for what we have,” Hunter said. “I don’t want to seem like we’re just dismissing it as nothing, it’s going to make a dent.”

He adds that as for now, there is no timeline as to when this money will get here. He said it could potentially be another year before that aid is received.

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