2016 floods still challenge survivors
In March of 2016, flooding swept across much of Louisiana. In Ouachita Parish (in upstate Louisiana, between Shreveport and Vicksburg, Mississippi), the heavy rainfall created a strong flow of water–strong enough to displace the foundation piers of homes. The foundation movement at one survivor’s home caused the roof to leak, the outside walls to shift, and the floors to buckle and bulge. Gaps along the walls, floors, and roof allowed rainfall into the home, causing further damage and extensive mold growth.
The survivor is a 63-year old disabled father of eight, who lives with chronic illness. After the flood, this large family moved into a 2-bedroom apartment, where they are still living. Though on a fixed income, he continues to pay bills on both residences.
He was able to make some minor repairs himself, but the family could not afford to make the repairs to the roof or to the floor joists, sills, floors, and ceilings. FEMA funding helped them purchase an air conditioner (an attempt to dry the home and reduce mold growth) and replace the children’s damaged clothing, but it was insufficient to repair the home. State recovery programs have been slow to help, and he has been waiting for more than a year to find out how much state funding will be available to assist with the repairs. Without addressing the major problems, the conditions of their home continued to deteriorate.
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