Governor requests major disaster declaration

Published 10:17 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal sent a letter to the federal government requesting an expedited major disaster declaration for the state as a result of the widespread damage and continuing impacts of Hurricane Isaac. 


The widespread impact of Hurricane Isaac has escalated to a point that meets the requirements of the Stafford Act for an expedited major disaster declaration.


Below is the Governor’s letter to the federal government:



August 29, 2012



The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

Washington, D. C.


Through:          Mr. Tony Robinson

Regional Administrator

                        FEMA Region VI

                        800 North Loop 288

                        Denton, TX 76209-3698



Dear Mr. President:


Under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5121-5207 (Stafford Act), and implemented by 44 CFR § 206.36, I request that you declare an expedited Major Disaster for the State of Louisiana as a result of the continuing impacts of Hurricane Isaac.  As this storm slowly makes its way inland, its projected path has either already impacted or continues to threaten well over 75% of the State’s population – passing over the metropolitan areas of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Alexandria, Monroe, Ruston, and Shreveport – over the next 48 hours. 


The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued advisories placing all of the State under a Hurricane Warning, Hurricane, Watch, Tropical Storm Warning, Tropical Storm Watch, Flash Flood Watch, Dangerous Storm Surge, and Tornado Watch.  The NWS has issued dozens of advisories on this event.  The latest, NWS Intermediate Advisory 34B (issued at 2 PM CDT),   projects the path to take at least 36 more hours before it is predicted to pass northward into Arkansas. 


There are currently fifty-eight (58) parishes that have issued declarations of emergency in response to this incident, with additional parishes preparing to make emergency declarations even as they take emergency protective measures to prepare for this dangerous hurricane, to provide support to parishes directly impacted by the hurricane or other severe weather events generated by Isaac, or prepare to be impacted by sheltering and evacuation operations. 


Search and rescue missions are underway in multiple coastal parishes while, in other parishes, conditions are still too hazardous to commence rescue efforts.  As of 12 PM today, the Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC) reported over 650,000 power outages, representing over 31% of all utilities in Louisiana.  At the current time, the outages are concentrated in Southeast Louisiana where the storm has yet to fully pass.  We anticipate further widespread utility interruption as the storm makes its way across the State.


The State began emergency protective measures on August 26, 2012, and these are continuing.  Reports of coastal and inland flooding, power outages, downed trees, and blocked or flooded roads are our first indications of the widespread debris that creates a threat to the lives and property of the citizens of Louisiana. In response to the situation, I have taken appropriate action under State law and have declared a statewide emergency on August 26, 2012. Furthermore, I have directed the execution of the State Emergency Operations Plan on that day in support of the statewide emergency declaration in accordance with Section 401 of the Stafford Act.  A copy of the declaration of the state of emergency is attached. The following information is furnished on the nature and amount of State and local resources that have been or will be used to alleviate the conditions of this disaster:


Office of the Governor

·         I issued a declaration of emergency 92 BJ 2012, on August 26, 2012, and authorized full utilization of all State resources.


Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

·         Activated the Crisis Action Team on Friday, August 24, 2012, to monitor, report and respond to the incident.

·         Mobilized 250 State personnel starting Monday, August 26, 2012, to operate the State EOC at Activation Level 1, provide response statewide, provide liaison with the impacted parishes, and coordinate the response with federal partners.

·         Obligated over $25,000,000 of expenditures for emergency protective measures to date.


Louisiana National Guard

·         Activated more than 5,000 Guardsmen and 940 security and high-water vehicles for emergency response and search and rescue.

·         Deployed liaisons to impacted and threatened parish emergency operations centers.


Louisiana Department of Public Safety

·         Mobilized State Trooper and Fire Marshal personnel and aviation assets for air reconnaissance and post-landfall emergency response.

·         Performed reconnaissance of evacuation routes with aviation assets.

·         Deployed liaisons to impacted and threatened parish emergency operations centers.


Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

·         Activated emergency bus contract for 200 commercial buses and school bus contingency use plans.

·         Issued emergency clearance instructions to evacuation routes.

·         Assisted Parish of Plaquemines with emergency levee repairs using HESCO material.


Department of Children and Family Services

·         Making preparations to activate 27,400 shelter spaces.

·         Coordinating with American Red Cross for 28,000 additional shelter spaces.


Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality

·         Issued agency emergency declaration to potentially impacted permit holders

·         Mobilized mobile command post and Rapid Needs Assessment Teams


Louisiana Public Service Commission

·         Mobilized 2 individuals to track and report utility outages and monitor infrastructure damage to electric utility facilities


Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

·         Placed employees on alert, moved vessels to safe harbor, and preparing for anticipated search and rescue mission.

·         Performing emergency protective measures to prevent damage to facilities.

·         Performing search and rescue missions as storm passes.


The State of Louisiana is currently engaged in recovery efforts for 7 open federal disaster declarations, and is still recovering from four major disasters over the last five years. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that impacted the State in 2005 have been classified as the largest disaster in U.S. history. In August and September 2008, Louisiana was hit by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.  In 2010, the State was impacted by the only Spill of National Significance in our nation’s history.  In 2011, the State was impacted by historic flooding of the Mississippi River. In addition to several statewide declarations over the past twelve months, the State is currently engaged in response to two active State declarations – 82 BJ 2012 (Threat of Subsidence and Subsurface Instability) and 87 BJ 2012 (Saltwater Intrusion in Mississippi River) – which have strained emergency management personnel at the State and local government level.  All of these successive incidents have depleted the State and local governments’ ability to respond to a strengthening hurricane rapidly approaching.


In conclusion, the above factors and continuing impact and threat of Hurricane Isaac justify the declaration of an expedited major disaster for Public Assistance, Category A and B, and Direct Federal Assistance.





Bobby Jindal