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Major disasters compel federal action

Posted by: George Swift on Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Initially run in the American Press 

Hurricane Ida and its trailing impacts have left most of Southeast Louisiana and the Northeast US devastated. The images of destruction and human suffering bring our thoughts back to the aftermath of Hurricanes Laura and Delta in Southwest Louisiana. Our region continues to rebuild and recover with thousands of houses still in disrepair. Lack of insurance settlements, lack of contractors, and lack of building supplies are adding to delays in rebuilding. Several thousand of our residents are still displaced because of lack of affordable housing. One positive note is that the businesses and homes being rebuilt in most cases are being strengthened and will be better and stronger than before.

It is evident that it is in our national and state interest to take steps now to harden the electric grid, cell towers, water and sewer systems, and gasoline stations. The unprecedented flooding from Tropical Storm Ida left the Northeast area including New Jersey, and New York flooded with numerous deaths.

As the voice for business, The Chamber SWLA encourages President Biden and the United States Congress to support a combined financial recovery package and programming for all areas impacted by Hurricanes Ida and Laura/Delta.

These weather events have hindered economic development and quality of life for residents and businesses along the Gulf of Mexico’s coast. Efforts to recover and rebuild need to be connected to make sure the coast’s governmental and business infrastructure, along with waterways, levees, and communities, are hardened for future generations to absorb the impacts of catastrophic hurricanes and other weather-related and manmade events. As a major energy producer, a strong southern Louisiana insures the energy needed for our nation.

Since 2020, efforts to obtain direct funding to meet the needs of Southwest Louisiana have been unsuccessful.

With the new impact from Ida, the Alliance advocates for a comprehensive recovery and mitigation package for the entire Interstate 10 corridor. Monies can be used to find the best ways to rebuild along a coastline that will more than likely be impacted by bigger and stronger hurricanes for years to come. Funds can also be utilized for public/private initiatives that assist home and business owners rebuild their lives emotionally and physically. It’s time for the U.S. Congress to join with our Louisiana Delegation and act now.

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