Louisiana National Guard activated for Harvey flood response in SWLA
BATON ROUGE, LA (KSLA) - Soldiers with the Louisiana National Guard rescued more than 100 citizens overnight on Tuesday in central Lake Charles.
Altogether, the Lake Charles Fire Department, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries rescued more than 450 citizens and 12 pets throughout the area in response to Tropical Storm Harvey.
"People were calling 911; calls go into the emergency operations center and then they dispatch them through the fire department," said Maj. Aaron Duplechin, commander of the 3-156 with LANG. "The guys with the fire department and the wildlife and fisheries would help them direct teams."
Approximately 210 soldiers with the Louisiana National Guard were mobilized Monday in response to Hurricane Harvey, with an additional 375 full-time Guardsmen added later in the day.
The LANG has prepositioned Guardsmen, high-water vehicles and boats in Caddo, Red River, Natchitoches, Calcasieu, Vermillion, Orleans, Lafayette and Rapides parishes.
"In the next 24 hours, I think they predicted anywhere from 5-10 inches of rain," said Duplechin. "So it just kind of depends on when those bands hit and where."
In addition to vehicles and boats, the Guard has 8 helicopters ready to support search-and-rescue, evacuation and reconnaissance missions as needed.
"Being ready and in place is as important as any training that we do, and our engagements at parish level are absolutely critical," said Maj. Gen.Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG. "In anticipation of the storm's track, we continue prepositioning equipment and vehicles in potentially affected areas as well as responding to the immediate needs of today."
The Guardsmen will work to protect lives and property, maintain communications and ensure the continuity of operations and government, the LANG reports.
As of Monday, the LANG has issued more than 1,152 MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat), 750 bottles of water and 247,000 sandbags.
Edwards announced the mobilization during a noon briefing Monday on the state's ongoing response to the threat of flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, warning that the storm is not over yet.
Earlier Monday, President Trump approved Gov. Edwards' request for a federal disaster declaration for 6 parishes in South Louisiana.
Members of the Louisiana National Guard are in Southeast Texas to assist with evacuations due to flood waters from Harvey.
Guardsmen have been sent along with high water vehicles, buses and helicopters to conduct search and rescue and transport Texas citizens to shelters in Lake Charles.
"Louisiana is prepared to help Texas in any way possible," said Gov. John Bel Edwards. "Fortunately, we are able to take care of the needs of Louisiana as well as provide the manpower and resources necessary to help Texas in its time of need. We've all been through this as partners in the past, and there is no doubt that we will get through this event together as well."
Air search and rescue missions are being held in the Port Arthur, Texas area.
Soldiers with the 139th Regional Support Group have supplied commodities including MREs, tarps, sandbags and bottled water to provide distribution to affected areas.
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