CONVENT — St. James Parish will probably not receive federal emergency assistance after heavy rain pounded the area last week, flooding 134 homes and businesses, Parish President Timmy Roussel said Wednesday.
State officials, however, were on the scene this week visiting flooded and water-logged properties, said Francis Hymel, assistant parish director of emergency preparedness.
The National Weather Service’s official rainfall amount beginning Wednesday, May 28 totaled 14.21 inches over 48 hours parishwide, said Eric Deroche, parish director of emergency preparedness.
However, certain areas of the parish recorded more than 17 inches, Deroche said.
Officials with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness sought to help residents Wednesday and record flood damage in the chance it could contribute to the required $6.7 million worth of damage needed statewide to receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hymel told the Parish Council.
Although the numbers are still coming in, Roussel said of FEMA’s disaster threshold, “We don’t anticipate reaching that.”
Hymel said GOHSEP officials visited 109 residences in the parish, with 58 designated as “affected,” receiving less than 4 inches of water, and 51 designated as having “minor damage,” receiving between 4 and 11 inches of water.
If the state somehow does meet the federal threshold to receive emergency funding, Hymel said, federal officials would have to come to the parish for another assessment.
“It’s just a wait and see right now,” he said.
Hymel advises residents to save photos and receipts or documents of flooding for insurance purposes.
Roussel also warned of scammers posing as FEMA officials seeking information from residents. He said no FEMA officials have yet visited the parish and will not do so before contacting parish officials.