BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s going to be a long road to recovery for the people in southwest Louisiana, especially in Cameron and Calcasieu parishes, along with other parts of central Louisiana.
State officials say first responders, as well as utility and emergency crews are on the ground now to make sure it’s safe before residents head back home.
Many officials, like the mayor of Lake Charles, are telling residents not to head back just yet, especially at night.
It’s still unsafe to do so, officials say, with all the power lines down, debris everywhere, and not a lot of electricity yet. Residents should wait until it’s light outside because this is going to be a long road to recovery.
“We did a big flyover and I will tell you the damage is substantial,” said Governor John Bel Edwards.
Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, leaving a large path of damage and destruction. Places like Holly Beach suffered the worst damage since Hurricane Rita in 2005.
Some familiar landmarks and places in Lake Charles are almost unrecognizable.
“The strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana ever recorded, so there’s going to be a lot of work,” said Gov. Edwards.
Buildings and homes have been absolutely trashed by the sheer power of Laura’s winds. The only good news is the storm surge did not materialize like experts predicted.
Still, thousands are without power and water, and some folks are without a roof or a house to go home to.
“Today was mostly about assessing the damage, although they did start repairs in certain areas, but we’re going to prioritize the hospitals, prioritize the water systems so that we can make sure people have the basic necessities that they need,” said Gov. Edwards.
The state is already working with FEMA and other federal partners to mobilize teams and supplies to respond to damaged areas.
But the governor knows this will take time before things get back to normal.
“And look, it’s going to be a marathon. It’s gonna’ be a lot of cleanup. There’s going to be a lot to do to recover. We’re going to be there with you, we’re going to be sure we’re accessing help from the federal government and working with our local partners as well, but let’s stay safe, let’s be good neighbors. Let’s wear our masks so that we don’t have a huge spike in cases in two or three weeks because of all the extra activity we’re going through right now,” said Gov. Edwards.
President Donald Trump signed the disaster declaration for Louisiana before the storm even hit to get resources moving on the ground level.
President Trump says he plans to visit parts of Louisiana and Texas this weekend to take a look at the damage.
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