Caddo Parish tornado victims urged to call in damage reports

Caddo Parish tornado victims urged to call in damage reports
Inside a home on Catherine Street in Shreveport, where a tree crashed through the roof during the storms
Crews are still hard at work repairing and rebuilding homes from the April 14 tornadoes, especially in hard-hit areas like Shreveport's Queensborough neighborhood. (Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA)
Crews are still hard at work repairing and rebuilding homes from the April 14 tornadoes, especially in hard-hit areas like Shreveport's Queensborough neighborhood. (Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency may have said 'no' to Caddo Parish about federal aid after last month's tornadoes. But, that isn't stopping authorities from asking again.

And this time they're asking for the help of storm victims who have not reported their damage yet to do so now.

Crews are still hard at work repairing and rebuilding homes from the April 14 tornadoes, especially in hard-hit areas like Shreveport's Queensborough neighborhood.

That's where at least some storm victims feeling forgotten already. Just ask 63-year-old Joanne Robinson, who is recovering from a stroke and unable to get around.

"They come out once. Then they don't come back no more," recalled Robinson, referring to a civic group that came to visit her soon after the storm hit.

Robinson fought back tears as she described her long ordeal; first to get her power restored at a cost of $1,500. And now, she's working on getting running water in her home once again.

But Robinson said she fears it may soon come down to a choice between paying repair bills or paying for groceries.

Since FEMA ruled the area did not suffer enough damage to qualify for federal funds, local authorities have now urged all storm victims to report their damages. That way Caddo Parish may still qualify for that federal money in their appeal.

"If I can get that across to anybody, don't wait to fix whatever happened. Start the process some way, shape or form to getting it done, getting it fixed," explained Robert Jump.

Jump serves as deputy director of the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

And Jump told KSLA News 12 he believes there are storm victims who have not reported their damage yet. "I do believe that there is some damage out there that was not a part of the initial damage assessments. I do believe that."

Once this appeal process with FEMA wraps up then comes the SBA, the Small Business Administration. That agency will then announce whether or not they will offer low-interest loans for qualifying storm victims.

Then there's help, possibly, for some storm victims from the Caddo Parish Commission. Commissioners approved the use of $350,000 in emergency aid funds, left over from previous disasters, to help storm victims who qualify for help.

The Red Cross identifies those who qualify for that aid. Then the Caddo Community Action Agency will dispense the funds starting this week.

The longtime president and CEO of CCAA, Laurance Guidry explained, "When you've lost almost everything, or there's major damage, it's not designed to make it like it was before the storm hit. But, it's going to make the house livable."

To report storm damage to the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness victims are urged to call (318) 675-2255.

The deadline for calling in is June 7. Jump said we should know by the end of June whether the appeal to FEMA was successful or not.

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