Posts tagged ‘fema’

FEMA flood maps: City to see little change

At a Tuesday night Lake Charles City Council agenda meeting, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials presented the new digital flood insurance rate maps for the city.

“You’ll see very little change to the map for the city. And there are areas that have improved because of some drainage projects,” said Michael Hunnicutt, deputy section chief for hazard mitigation.

Thanks to a proactive approach by the city to flood plain management, he said, there are few low-lying areas within the city limits.

FEMA set up a website — — for residents who want to see if their zoning status is changing. Resident can put in their addresses and see current and future zoning status.

The maps will take affect Feb. 18. Adoption or failure to do so affects federal funding and mortgage rates, said Hunnicutt.

Wayne Berggren, a federal insurance group supervisor, said a little more than 6,000 flood insurance policies are in affect in the city.

“The average amount of coverage in Calcasieu Parish is $202,000, and the average claim payment is $22,923,” Berggren said.

Hunnicutt said FEMA started the project in 2003, with the goal to redo flood maps across the nation.

In Louisiana, officials needed to re-evaluate some storm surge data after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to accept the maps at the Dec. 15 meeting.

Hunnicutt said Cameron Parish maps are now in the resolution period, in which a group of scientists review them, and that process should be completed within a year.

November 24, 2010 at 2:55 am


*published July 13, 2010
FEMA dismantles scattered fragments of village

One of the few remaining steps frames a front-end loader that is removing utilities from Crying Eagle Village on Monday. BY KAREN WINK

Contractors with the Federal Emergency Management Agency spent Monday dismantling remnants of Crying Eagle Village off Swift Plant Road.

Most of the trailers were taken away in mid-2009, and contractors are now removing fire hydrants, wiring, plumbing, poles and wood staircases.

Officials hope to lease the property to an industrial company, said Mike Dees, legal council for the Port of Lake Charles, owner of the land.

He said FEMA’s lease ended in February but that federal officials requested an extension so they could bring in contractors to remove the improvements.

Three hundred FEMA mobile homes fill the Crying Eagle Village in 2006. AMERICAN PRESS ARCHIVES

Dees said he couldn’t speak on the timing of the removal process, saying the decision was FEMA’s.

The park, built in May 2006, had 300 mobile homes, 200 travel trailers and at its peak housed about 1,000 people who were displaced by Hurricane Rita.

It was built by contractor Fluor Corp. and was managed by FEMA for most of its nearly three-year history. It was turned over to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development before closing at the end of 2008.

When the park opened, officials said it would be occupied for no longer than 18 months.
Problems abounded during the park’s existence.

Residents of Crying Eagle Village — along with others in FEMA trailers across the Gulf Coast — claimed they were made sick by formaldehyde in the trailers.

The issues came to light in July 2007 when members of Congress learned that FEMA officials had suppressed health warnings about formaldehyde.

Residents reported strange rashes, stomach problems, nosebleeds and headaches they believed to be caused by the chemical.

The tightly packed trailer park also proved to be a major problem for the Lake Charles Police Department.

Records show officers received 200-400 called-in complaints each year, with most being for fighting, burglary, theft and drugs.

The park had three civilian security officers who patrolled the grounds.

In March 2008, FEMA began charging residents still living in the park and offered a rental assistance program to help them find apartments.

By August 2008, about 100 people remained. The park was emptied by the end of the year.


July 13, 2010 at 8:22 pm

More FEMA frustration

*published June 3, 2009
Agency’s ‘positive step’ nets Cameron little

Cameron Parish officials are scratching their heads over a FEMA announcement that puts a storage shed in Holly Beach but leaves the chance of rebuilding damaged schools up in the air.

On Tuesday, Cameron Parish officials — along with those of other coastal parishes — participated in a conference call with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In it, a FEMA public affairs officer read a cryptic letter that heralded great strides in resolving the high-velocity zone situation, said Cameron Parish Administrator Tina Horn.

“The letter wasn’t really clear,” Horn said. “And after the reading, they (the public affairs officer) couldn’t answer any specific questions about our parishes.”

A preliminary FEMA map puts about 80 percent of Cameron Parish in a v-zone placement that would prevent the parish from receiving federal funding to rebuild.

Both U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter sent out news releases praising Tuesday’s progress.

Landrieu listed six of 34 projects that had been stopped but that now have a green light for funding. The projects are in Cameron, Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Tammany parishes.

They comprise three buildings in Grand Isle State Park, a guardhouse in the South Shore Harbor, a radio tower in the Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area and a “maintenance unit,” or storage shed, in Holly Beach.

The Landrieu release said the projects account for $366,000 — out of the $33 million in 28 remaining projects.

Vitter’s news release called this an “important, positive step forward for communities in Grand Isle and Cameron Parish.”

He said the he would meet next week with Craig Fugate, the newly confirmed FEMA head. Neither Vitter nor an aide was available for comment late Tuesday.

“It sounds like they just took care of state projects,” Horn said, echoing criticisms made on the conference call that there was no local input. “We are the ones on the ground who have to deal with this. Why didn’t they talk to us first?”

In Cameron Parish, Horn said, the most important projects are getting Johnson Bayou and South Cameron high schools rebuilt.

Right now, the parish can only get money to repair the schools, but School Superintendent Stephanie Rodrigue has expressed a desire to rebuild both schools to federal elevation standards.

Rodrigue said she considers it a waste to rebuild schools to lower elevations when they could just flood or be destroyed again.

“And we don’t want our children in temporary buildings for another year,” Horn said.

Marni Goldberg, with Landrieu’s office, said the 28 remaining projects may be approved by the end of the week, but she could offer no timetable for the v-zone issue.

State Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish agreed with Horn that public input must be sought and that the coastal parishes must be able to rebuild.

“You have people rebuilding on Bolivar island (a peninsula near Galveston Island) right now,” Morrish said. “And the new hurricane season is here, and we’re still in limbo.”

Horn said Mark Cooper with the state emergency preparedness office had been pushing for a hearing with Fugate by the first week of June, but said she remains unaware of a specific date.

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June 3, 2009 at 3:06 pm