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WESTLAKE- Downed utility poles in Westlake, Louisiana following Hurricane Laura on Thursday, August 27, 2020. (Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

President Donald Trump has approved Louisiana's request for a major disaster declaration in 23 parishes following Hurricane Laura.  

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the approval Friday evening. It opens up FEMA assistance to individuals and communities impacted by the dangerous Category 4 storm.

“I appreciate President Trump’s quick action on my request for a Major Disaster Declaration, which will pave the way for getting aid to individuals and communities impacted by Hurricane Laura in Louisiana," Edwards said in a news release.

In general, FEMA will cover at least 75% of the emergency and recovery costs with state and local governments having to pay the rest.

The approval comes a day before Trump plans to visit Lake Charles and other areas left heavily damaged by the hurricane. 

The White House said Friday that Trump will "survey storm damage and receive briefings on emergency operations and ongoing relief efforts" when he arrives around noon Saturday.

Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday morning in Cameron Parish and battered communities from Cameron to Lake Charles to Shreveport. Roofs were blown off homes, windows smashed in buildings and communities were flooded by storm surge and rain. Hundreds of thousands were without power and clean water after the storm knocked out water systems. Firefighters were still battling a blaze Friday at a chlorine plant near Lake Charles.

The disaster declaration includes these parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Acadia, Vermilion, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, Vernon, Winn, Bienville, Claiborne, Red River, Caldwell, Jackson, Lincoln, Ouachita and Union.

At least 10 people have died from Hurricane Laura, considered one of the strongest storms to ever hit the Louisiana coastline. 


Contact Katelyn Umholtz at kumholtz@theadvocate.com.