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Hundreds Of Hurricane Evacuees Remain In Hotels As 'Substantial But Insufficient' Recovery Continues

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Ryan Kellman
/
NPR
A home battered by Hurricane Laura in Cameron, Louisiana, this summer.

More than 600 hurricane evacuees are still living in hotels in Lafayette and New Orleans, officials at a briefing in Lake Charles on Tuesday reported.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, who was joined there by officials from FEMA and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, called the ongoing 2020 hurricane season recovery efforts “substantial but insufficient.”

Many people still don’t have permanent housing. More than 800 people are living in FEMA mobile trailers, and more are needed. In the Lake Charles area, there are still debris-covered roads, ditches in need of cleaning, and bridges in need of repairs.

“People in Southwest Louisiana and elsewhere around the state who were impacted by hurricanes may be tempted to believe that people aren’t paying attention,” Edwards said. “Well, I will tell you that we are working very hard.”

FEMA has paid out nearly $250 million to survivors. Another $100 million has been paid out in flood insurance claims. Nearly 70,000 households got emergency food stamps.

Edwards said the state is still trying to get more federal disaster money, but that will require congressional approval.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and local listeners.

Tegan has reported on the coast for WWNO since 2015. In this role she has covered a wide range of issues and subjects related to coastal land loss, coastal restoration, and the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone, with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change. Her reporting has been aired nationally on Planet Money, Reveal, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, BBC, CBC and other outlets. She’s a recipient of the Pulitzer Connected Coastlines grant, CUNY Resilience Fellowship, Metcalf Fellowship, and countless national and regional awards.

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