Wednesday, September 28

Cleanup under way in Allen Parish

OBERLIN — Cleanup efforts are under way in Allen Parish after Hurricane Rita.

Allen Parish's Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director John Richer said Wednesday officials are working to clean roads and restore power.

More than 2,000 customers remained without power. Some areas may be without power for at least two more weeks, he said.

In the meantime, Richer is asking that residents be patient and cooperate with officials.

"We need everyone working together," he said.

Although there are no official damage estimates available, Richer said preliminary damages could be in excess of $500,000. A flyover of the parish was conducted Wednesday to survey the damage and determine the number of homes damaged and value of losses.

Richer said the parish is now in the recovery stage.

"We are trying to make life as easy as possible for everyone," he said.

He said many areas remain impassable due to downed trees and power lines.

"There are areas where people can't even get out of their home to go
pick up supplies or food," he said.

Crews are working to clear those roads and reopen routes for mail and school buses. All roads should be open by Thursday.

Food distribution centers have been set up at the Oberlin Civic Center and area fire stations. Volunteers are needed to help at the distribution sites.

The parish is also serving as a shelter for hundreds of other Louisiana residents who fled Hurricane Rita under mandatory evacuations last week. He said many of those have stopped in Allen Parish trying to get closer to home or have run out of fuel.

Fuel is still scarce, he said. A limited fuel supply is available for emergency personnel, public works, critical needs and medical purposes.

Richer is also asking Allen Parish residents to register with FEMA for assistance by calling (800) 621-3362. The parish is expected to be added to the disaster lists, which will make residents eligible for federal assistance.

Doris Maricle
American Press

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