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Flood Aftermath: Cleanup begins around Bossier Parish

Photo courtesy of Sky Pixel LA | An aerial view of flooding during the March 2016 flood at Pecan Valley in south Bossier.

Pecan Valley Estates resident Corey Borders can finally drive through his neighborhood again.

The scene was much different two weeks ago when his family had to evacuate through a window and be taken to safety by boat due to rising flood waters. Borders home was in the back portion of the south Bossier neighborhood, which accommodates both single and double wide homes and RVs.

“I didn’t even think it would be flooded over there,” Borders said. “When I got off work late that night, the water was already ankle deep. By the time my wife woke me up the next morning it was knee deep. We knew the storm wasn’t going to stop there.”

Borders and his family packed what they could and called law enforcement for help. Water was already inside their vehicles and still rising. He knew they couldn’t wait much longer to leave. That’s when someone in the neighborhood showed up with a boat to help them out.

By the time emergency crews arrived, Borders said the water was waist deep.

“We had never been through a flood before,” he said. “The best way to handle it was to stay calm.”

Borders was finally able to see their home after the water receded. The water did not reach the inside of the home, but did exterior damage.

“The water actually picked up the house and put it back down,” Borders said.

They are now in the process of getting their lives back to normal. Borders said people are moving out of Pecan Valley because of the recent flood. However, his family has decided to stay.

State and federal emergency management officials encourage Louisiana flood survivors to begin repairs as soon as they can. Flood survivors do not need to wait for a visit from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or their insurance company to start cleaning up and make repairs. FEMA inspectors and insurance claims adjusters will be able to verify flood damage even after cleaning has begun.

It’s important for survivors to take photographs of damage and keep recovery-related receipts. Insurance companies may need both items, while FEMA may need receipts.
Survivors should check for structural damage before entering their homes and report any damage to local officials. They should also immediately throw away wet contents like bedding, carpeting and furniture because of health issues that may arise with mold.
Emergency management officials encourage survivors to register for FEMA assistance as soon as they can. They only need to register once and only one registration is allowed per household. Once registered, survivors should keep in touch with FEMA and update contact information if it changes.

Bossier Parish’s unified command of emergency and public safety agencies has joined with volunteers to establish an emergency supplies distribution point for individuals in the Lake Bistineau area who have suffered damage from flood waters.

Gene Baratinni, deputy director of the Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said a Logistics Emergency Assistance Point (LEAP) has been established at the Tooke Memorial Library, 451 Fairview Point Rd. in Koran.

Individuals in the Lake Bistineau area will be able to pick up emergency items including food, water and cleaning materials and supplies from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.

Storage pods are being set up at the Tooke library site to store the emergency goods.

A Forward Assistance Center (FAC) has also been established at the Tooke Memorial Library. Emergency services and supplies will be available at the FAC from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Services offered include parish damage reporting and registration with FEMA assistance teams, plus free tetanus and flu shots administered by the state Dept. of Health and Hospitals Office of Public Health. Emergency supplies including water, food and cleaning goods are also be available.

A Disaster Recovery Center has opened in Bossier City.  Representatives from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Small Business Administration, voluntary groups and local agencies are at the center to answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans. They can also help survivors apply for federal disaster assistance.

This center is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

It is not necessary to visit a center to register for and receive federal disaster assistance. If possible, survivors should register with FEMA before visiting a recovery center.

To register, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. Help is available in most languages and phone lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

Disaster survivors who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585 to register. Those who use 711 or VRS (Video Relay Service) or require accommodations while visiting a center may call 800-621-3362. All disaster recovery centers are accessible and equipped with tools to accommodate disaster survivors who need disability-related communication aids.

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