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Disaster relief distribution sites operating daily in St. John Parish

LAPLACE — While cell service is beginning to return to St. John, Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said communications remain very limited, and it is difficult to relay information as quickly as she would like. Despite the challenges, St. John Parish managed to set up distribution sites with disaster relief supplies less than 72 hours after Hurricane Ida devastated the region.

Located at REGALA Gymnasium on the East Bank and at the Wallace Fire Station on the West Bank, these distribution sites will remain open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until further notice.

On Wednesday, 1,000 sets of water, ice and MREs were distributed to residents on the East Bank, and 300 were distributed on the West Bank.

From 4 to 6 p.m. today, Sept. 2, essential items will be distributed at East St. John Preparatory Academy’s campus on a first come, first served basis while supplies last. This distribution event is only open to St. John Parish residents.

FEMA assistance is available, and residents are asked to register online at assistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362. According to Hotard, FEMA will also mobilize teams to go into neighborhoods and assist residents.

The St. John Fire Department, the National Guard and other first responders are also going into the neighborhoods to distribute water to residents.

Hotard cautioned St. John residents to remain vigilant regarding contractor fraud and hurricane relief scams.

She said residents are already receiving fraudulent communications and reminded locals that FEMA will never ask for your social security number over a text message. Hotard also asked residents to make sure the contractor they are dealing with is licensed. Avoid contractors who ask for full payment up front, and protect against scams by taking a photo of the contractor’s license plate.