Gov. Edwards tours Hurricane Laura storm damage in Natchitoches

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NATCHITOCHES, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Gov. John Bel Edwards said Saturday that all power is expected to be restored in Natchitoches Parish by Monday after Hurricane Laura brought down trees and power lines with hurricane-force winds last week.

“The immediate need is restoration of power, and getting rid of the debris so that you safely travel the roads and that sort of thing. And we know that that’s a real challenge because you get up into this part of the state and you just have so many trees and very seldom do you encounter the kind of winds that came through with Hurricane Laura.”

Edwards was North Louisiana Saturday to tour storm damage in the towns of Winnfield and Natchitoches from the air and to meet with local officials on the ground. Following that meeting, Edwards praised the work of those local officials in responding to the storm and urged those who suffered damage in the storm to register with FEMA at disasterassistance.gov

“It’s extremely important, because they look at how many registrations they get from a given area, how many of those individuals are low to moderate-income, how many are elderly, what insurance is available, and they make decisions about whether certain types of assistance are going to be available,” said Edwards. “So they need to make sure that they’re registering with FEMA, and then we’ll do everything at the state level to make sure that we’re helping, too.”

As of Saturday, Edwards said about 22 percent of the parish remained without power and once again warned that the danger of injury and death continues, even a week after the storm passed.

“Only one person was killed directly by the storm itself, but we’re at 25, so we do encourage people to make sure that they are cautious and that they are safety-conscious when they’re out there doing their work.”

The death toll from the storm now includes that of a 25-year-old man in Natchitoches Parish who was electrocuted after coming into direct contact with a power line. Edwards said the man was moving an RV when it came into contact with a live wire. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the man was resuscitated at the time but later passed away.

That was one of two new storm-related deaths reported on Saturday, in addition to three reported on Friday.

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