Hurricane evacuee numbers swell by 10% after Delta

Updated: Oct. 12, 2020 at 9:20 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The number of hurricane evacuees staying in local hotels grew by 800 over the weekend due to Hurricane Delta. Now, many say homes that were badly damaged during Hurricane Laura six weeks ago are now even worse.

Lake Charles evacuees staying in New Orleans say Hurricane Delta gave them a short reprieve, but now, fear they must go back.

“It’s been difficult to head home. Now you gonna' send me back and I don’t have nothing,” evacuee, Dorothy Gardenhire, said.

FEMA says the number of evacuees staying in hotels and shelters grew to 9,100 after Hurricane Delta slammed into southwest Louisiana Oct. 9; many say they have nowhere to turn.

“They want you to go to Lake Charles and view the property. There’s nothing there and then you go to Alexandria and cots,” said evacuee, David Hanks.

FEMA says it has put $162 million in the hands of survivors and is trying to assist relocation efforts based on the amount of damage, the size of the household, and insurance, but some complain it’s not enough.

“I’ve been over here for over a month and haven’t had any income. I haven’t had a dollar,” said evacuee, Liz Mitchell.

For many evacuees, this has been the test of a lifetime and much like in Hurricane Katrina, different people handle catastrophe in different ways.

“Give me a chance, because if you don’t, I’m not gonna' make it,” said evacuee, Gary Green, who says he has been applying for sheet rock work in New Orleans.

Various advocacy groups have now stepped up to help.

FEMA says it has registered 185,000 households and will continue to work with each on a case-to-case basis. The state shelter program is being coordinated through the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The state says many applicants are working with caseworkers who are attempting to fill their needs.

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