- The State of Louisiana and the National Guard continue to monitor Hurricane Rita.
- Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco sent a letter to President Bush requesting an expedited major disaster declaration for the State of Louisiana due to Hurricane Rita.
- To date, there are approximately 16,000 National Guard soldiers on the ground under the command of Governor Blanco.
- Approximately 4,000 of National Guard troops have been dedicated to Task Force Rita.
- In addition to the current troops on the ground, Governor Blanco has requested up to:
- 15,000 National Guard troops deploy to Louisiana and
- 15,000 Federal troops be prepared to deploy to Louisiana
· National Guard primary missions continue to be: saving lives (including providing meals, water, and ice to personnel), enforcing security, evacuating residents, and supporting existing critical infrastructures
· Louisiana Shelters: To date, there are more than 47,000 evacuees in more than 300 shelters in Louisiana.
· Out of State Shelters: To date, there are more than 31,000 evacuees in more than 350 shelters throughout the United States.
Louisiana Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
- As of 9:00 am today, 44 parishes have declared States of Emergency due to effects of Hurricane Rita.
East Baton Rouge
West Baton Rouge
· LOHSEP ongoing operations include:
o Search and Rescue Operations
o Commodities Support (MRE, water & Ice)
o Generator Support
o Re-Fueling Support
o Engineer Team Deployment
· Later today, with the aid of the National Guard, LOHSEP will begin preliminary disaster assessments.
· Calcasieu Parish OEP officials have advised Calcasieu residents NOT to return to their homes until at least Monday, September 26, 2005.
o They have also asked residents to monitor local media outlets for further updates.
Department of Health & Hospitals
• An updated number of fatalities has been announced at 841. This number will be updated as often as possible when deaths are determined to be storm-related.
• A national toll-free number is available for families whose loved ones may have perished during Hurricane Katrina.
· Concerned relatives, who are unable to find a missing loved one and fear the worst, should call the Find Family National Call Center at 1-866-326-9393.
· This is the nationwide collection point and official coordination center for information on persons missing from the storm.
· Family members can phone this number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
· Officials remind callers this number is specifically for those concerned that a loved one may be deceased.
· Callers will be asked a series of questions that are solely for the purpose of identifying and reuniting family members.
• The following breakdown highlights the activities at the call center as of Sept. 22:
- 4,588 individuals are reported as missing, but their exact fate is unknown. They could be alive or may have perished.
- 759 individuals have been located alive
• The Department of Health and Hospitals requests that clergy members in Louisiana who are willing to offer their pastoral counseling services immediately contact the Find Family Call Center at 225-709-7870.
• DHH has included flu vaccine in its shelter vaccination campaign.
o To date, the agency has vaccinated over 6,000 shelter residents/workers.
o Flu vaccination acceptance has been very high, reaching over 70%in some shelters.
Department of Social Services
· From Sept. 2 - 23, the Office of Family Support has certified 307,000 households (with an average of 3 family members per HH) for total Disaster Food Stamp benefits of more than $111.4 million.
· Residents of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and St. Tammany parishes may continue to apply for emergency food stamp benefits through Sept. 29, 2005.
o Applicants from these parishes, as well as Washington Parish, who already have emergency food stamp benefits, will continue to receive benefits through the month of October.
· Shelters housing more than 25 displaced citizens and not currently registered with the parish Office of Emergency Preparedness should call (866) 310-7617 or in Baton Rouge, 925-1938.
Department of Labor
- DOL has planned for possible benefits claims in the coming days and weeks ahead from people who will be out of work temporarily or permanently due to Hurricane Rita.
- DOL has taken 178,807 Katrina-related claims for Unemployment Insurance and Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits. At least 157,937 were determined to be eligible.
Department of Transportation & Development
· 10 handheld radios have been delivered to the Emergency Operations Center in preparation of Hurricane Rita.
· DOTD is working with FEMA to help coordinate bus transportation for Katrina evacuees who are in shelter areas and must be evacuated because of Hurricane Rita.
· Two FHWA Asset Teams will return to Orleans Parish Monday, Sept. 26, to assess the non-DOTD Local Federal Aid Roads (i.e. Urban system).
· DOTD has issued a freeze on new hires and non-Katrina related travel expenditures.
· The Belle Chasse tunnel re-opened on Wednesday, September 21, 2005.
· DOTD Customer Service Center - Number of Calls since August 31, 2005 = 6,706
Louisiana Department of Education
- DOE continues its efforts to assist school districts impacted by Hurricane Katrina and is also preparing to assist any school district impacted by Hurricane Rita.
- DOE is coordinating and scheduling staff for the Education desk at the state Office of Emergency Preparedness 24 hours, 7 days a week, until otherwise notified.
- Every school district in the state was assigned a cabinet level contact person within the Department of Education after Hurricane Katrina, and we will attempt to remain in contact with our “buddy districts” for as long as possible as Hurricane Rita makes landfall.
- The Department of Education will assess the impact of Hurricane Rita on our local districts as soon as the storm passes and communication can be established.
Board of Regents
- Board of Regents and management system representatives met to discuss and implement campus preparations for Hurricane Rita. All systems and affected campuses have taken or are taking the following precautions:
· Backup of all critical records
· Adequate security in place on campuses
· Safe harbors identified on affected campuses to shelter students who might not be able to evacuate in time
· Campus shelters across the state currently in use for Katrina evacuees shall remain functional for evacuees potentially displaced by Hurricane Rita
- Contact numbers for system information:
-- LCTCS: 1-866-310-1586 -- LSU System: (225) 578-2111
-- SU System: (225) 771-4500 -- UL System: (225) 342- 6950
Division of Administration
- State offices in 44 parishes have been closed in preparation for Hurricane Rita.
- These parishes include: Ascension, Avoyelles, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, Grant, Pointe Coupee, Red River, West Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, Assumption, Evangeline, Iberville, Lafourche, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, St. Landry, Terrebonne, Vernon, Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lower St. Martin, Upper St. Martin, St. Mary, Vermilion, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington and West Feliciana
- Essential personnel should report to work as directed by their supervisors.
- Affected state employees are urged to monitor local media and stay updated by calling on the state office work status hotlines. The work status hotline numbers are: 1-800-360-9660 and 225-342-0498.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
- Facilities Secured and Personnel Evacuated
- All LDWF coastal facilities in the path of Hurricane Katrina have been secured and staff evacuated. Moveable equipment, including computers, boats and trailerable earth moving equipment have all been taken to higher inland areas.
- Search and Rescue Personnel and Watercraft Staged for Response After Storm
- Enforcement Division: 135 boats and 135 personnel staged and ready to go into rescue area Saturday following passage of storm
- Office of Wildlife / Office of Fisheries: 110 boats and 123 personnel ready to follow initial wave as needed
Department of Natural Resources
- DNR has facilitated assessment, access, and security with emergency personnel addressing critical energy infrastructure needs in Louisiana, as well as assisting facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina recover.
- DNR is working with the oil and gas industry to facilitate the security needs of refining assets in Lake Charles (CITGO and ConocoPhillips), which have been shut down.
- DNR will continue to work with industry contacts to facilitate the re-starting of these assets ASAP after the passage of Hurricane Rita.
- Secretary Angelle has initiated reconnaissance flights over the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Orleans, and Jefferson and worked with energy industry personnel to facilitate the reconstruction of damaged facilities.
- Three major natural gas processing plants remain shut down in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes (Toca, Yscloskey, and Venice).
- Shell Oil Company has essentially re-located its One Shell Square Louisiana HQ in a training facility in Robert, Louisiana.
· Three major refineries in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes remain off-line. These are: Chalmette Refining, Murphy, and ConocoPhillips at Alliance
· Six major refineries are operating at near full to full capacity. These are: Motiva Norco, Valero Norco, Marathon, Motiva Convent, and ExxonMobil Baton Rouge.
· The American Petroleum Institute is reporting that 18 of 26 refineries along the Gulf Coast have been shut-down as a result of Katrina and the anticipation of Rita.
Department of Corrections
- Preliminary damage assessments at state institutions from Hurricane Katrina appear to be minimal at this time. However, further assessment will be conducted once winds and rain subside later today.
- Several state correctional facilities are without power this morning: C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center in DeQuincy, Allen Correctional Center in Kinder, Avoyelles Correctional Center in Cottonport and J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Center in Pineville. Above mentioned facilities are operating on emergency generator power.
- The Department is gathering information on the safety of employees in Hurricane Rita’s path and scope of property damage. DOC is ready to assist with supplies and money to help with immediate needs thanks to correctional systems across the country.
- Terrebonne Parish is evacuating its prison facility due to flooding concerns. Approximately 550 inmates will be transported to 3 different state facilities in Louisiana today.
- A breakdown of inmate evacuees to date:
- Katrina evacuees: 2,466 inmates in local facilities
3,503 inmates in state facilities
920 inmates at Florida federal facility
- Rita evacuees: 706 inmates in local facilities
1,042 inmates in state facilities
550 inmates from Terrebonne Parish to state facilities today
- The Department will reassess placement of evacuated inmates Sunday evening/Monday morning, once a clearer picture of damage and/or flooding to these evacuated local facilities develops.
- “Camp Amtrak” operations in New Orleans remain stable. No flooding reported as of Saturday morning at the booking, processing and temporary detention facility.