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REPORT YOUR DAMAGES!
REPORT YOUR DAMAGES!
Nov 7, 2009 --
Webster Parish officials are urging all Webster property owners of private homes or businesses that experienced any amount of damage due to the recent storms or flooding since this compounding event began in early October to report those damages to the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Additionally, all public agencies or offices in Webster Parish will be asked to submit any accounts of physical damage to structures, roadways or properties, as well as an estimate of elevated expenses incurred due to this emergency event.
“What we are trying to do is gather an estimated account of the physical, financial and economic impact that the recent storms and flooding have had on us here in Webster—and to our State,” explains Webster Parish Homeland Security Director John Stanley. “At this point nothing is guaranteed, but we can’t even begin to see if our public entities are eligible for reimbursement of storm related damages and expenses, or if affected property owners could be assisted financially, until we quickly gather together that information.”
According to Jenny Reynolds, spokesperson for both the Webster Sheriff’s Office and Webster Homeland Security, the parish has one required threshold to meet, and the state has yet another. Reportedly, the North Louisiana regions are cooperatively pooling their information and submitting that to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) in an effort to see if such thresholds can be met. “As I understand, that is the first step we must take to determine if our State may even request any federal funding for public or individual assistance,” explained Reynolds. “And that is why it is so important for everyone to participate in this effort. Some of the declared parishes may need that assistance more than others, just as some had more damages than others. If we don’t all combine our efforts it’s possible that the State won’t get approval for such assistance; so what we do, or don’t do here, may affect the outcome for everyone else—and vice-versa.”
The Sheriff’s office has streamlined the reporting process to property owners and reports that callers should be able to provide the requested information using less than a few minutes of their time. “But we are having trouble getting the word out,” said Reynolds. “We know we had a couple of hundred homes damaged to flooding alone—but we’ve only received 40 or so reports so far. I would guess that is because so many are still displaced or remain without power and simply aren’t hearing the messages. Our flood event is definitely still not over, as many homes and roads remain flooded.”
Reynolds asks that people share this request for damage reports with anyone they know to have experienced damage in an effort to get the word out; and adds that public agencies and offices will be contacted and possibly visited by GOHSEP on Monday in an effort to begin the process of gathering estimates. “If they [potential public applicants] are at all interested in the possibility of reimbursement for the irregular and allowable costs they incurred due to this event, then they’ll need to be willing to report those expenses,” she said. “And at this point, we’re told that only preliminary verifiable estimates are needed; and if federal funding is approved then more specifically documented figures would be required.”
Webster private property owners should call 318-377-1515 to report their damages from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow.
Webster Parish Police Jury - Webster Parish Courthouse Annex
401 Main St., 1st Floor - P.O. Box 389 - Minden, LA 71058 - (318) 377-7564 Office - (318) 371-2366 Fax