Governor Jindal declares state of emergency following severe weather across Louisiana

BATON ROUGE – Following severe weather in North and Southwest Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal has issued a statewide emergency declaration today to assist in the deployment and staging of state assets to support affected parishes in responding to the emergency.

The Governor’s Executive Proclamation declares a state of emergency for all of Louisiana in anticipation of severe weather moving throughout the state through October 31, 2009. Additionally, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have dispatched resources and personnel to assist parish emergency preparedness directors and residents in response and recovery efforts.

Governor Jindal said, “Just as we did during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike last year, we know we must move quickly in every emergency situation to protect our people and their property. State emergency responders were already coordinating with local officials on the ground before the storms began and they will continue to work together to ensure that communities have the resources they need to respond to the impact of this severe weather event. This emergency declaration will help communities in need speed up their response and recovery efforts without being hindered by bureaucratic red tape.”

GOHSEP, State Police and Louisiana National Guard officials were on the ground in North Louisiana prior to the severe weather and began working with local officials to immediately distribute resources to area residents. The Guard has sent two high water vehicles to assist with any rescues and GOHSEP has provided more than 200,000 sandbags to help retain high water. GOHSEP’s Crisis Action Team (CAT) is also monitoring the situation. State emergency officials will remain in the area to provide necessary resources to residents and local emergency response officials.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Platt Elementary School located at 4680 Highway 80 East in Haughton and is currently providing shelter for approximately 15 families. At this time, there are approximately 33,000 homes without electricity reported in the Caddo/Bossier area.

Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis also announced today that due to high water and significant road closures, state government offices will be closed today in Caddo, Bossier, and Webster parishes. All agency heads are responsible for determining the essential personnel who should remain on duty or those who should report to alternative work sites.

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