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Louisiana delegation urge Biden to issue major disaster declaration following historic winter storm



LOUISIANA – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), along with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Reps. Mike Johnson (R-La.), Steve Scalise (R-La.), Clay Higgins (R-La.) and Garret Graves (R-La.) urged President Joe Biden to grant a request for a major disaster declaration for Louisiana, which has been battered by winter storms.

“Many of the characteristics of this recent weather event were unprecedented, and its impacts stretched across huge swaths of the state,” the delegation wrote in a letter to the President. “At the event’s peak, more than 200,000 Louisianians were without electricity, and seven hospitals and six nursing homes relied upon generators as their sole source of electricity.”

“The most significant impact, however, came in the form of disruptions to the delivery of water to impacted areas,” the letter continues. “Due to damaged water mains and related distribution infrastructure, roughly one-quarter of the state’s population experienced either a loss of access to safe drinking water or a loss of access to water altogether. These disruptions extended to hospitals and nursing homes, where bulk water was brought in via truck to continue services to our most vulnerable populations. All told, 63 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes issued emergency declarations in response to this event, and tragically, the state reports six fatalities stemming from the treacherous weather.”

The letter concludes: “In addition to these considerations, we remain concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic and a record-setting 2020 hurricane season have placed a tremendous strain on the state’s ability to effectively recover from February’s winter weather event. In fact, the emergency declaration you issued for this event marks the tenth federal emergency or disaster the state has experienced in the past 24 months. For these reasons, we ask that you grant the State of Louisiana’s request for a federal disaster declaration as soon as possible.”