Pay close attention to how GOP Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is working ’round the clock to prepare his state for Hurricane Gustav. As the nutroots wish ill on conservatives and pray to God for our demise, Gov. Jindal is on the ball, working feverishly to ensure the safety and comfort of his residents. No Blanco-like whining or finger-pointing. Action, not talk. I pointed to his 4am coastline evacuation order this morning. He held a press conference with DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff this afternoon, after he visited Lakefront Airport earlier today to thank the National Guard for their support in evacuating medical patients out of South Louisiana. He also signed a memorandum of understanding between Louisiana and Missouri and Tennessee for the use of their National Guard forces assisting evacuation and response operations; coordinated special needs shelters with several other states; and worked with seven states and the feds to stage evacation support, utility workers, and search and rescue teams.
This is how to be prepared:
· The state has 700 buses contracted – these are all within a 500-mile radius.
· These 700 buses will accommodate 35,000 people.
· These buses will be supplemented by an air and rail evacuation plan, which is led by FEMA.
· The state has up to 10,000 spaces for Critical Special Needs evacuees – these are individuals that have no transportation of their own. These shelters are state run.
· Additionally, the American Red Cross, in conjunction with local parishes, have spaces available for up to 68,000 evacuees in parish locations throughout the state.
· The state has 564,000 MREs pre-positioned in Louisiana.
· The state already has 525,000 liters of water pre-positioned in Louisiana.
· The state is ready to provide food and water to 350,000 responders and folks who remain in the state because they cannot evacuate
· FEMA has contracts in place for additional supplies, and they are currently working to load up these supplies and move them to Louisiana.
BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal met with the unified command of the emergency operation center at GOSHEP to receive an update on the state’s preparedness efforts surrounding the possible impact of Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana.
The Governor’s briefing from the National Weather Service reported that the center of the storm was broken up and has re-strengthened as it is approaching Jamaica. Currently, it is projected to be in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, and move toward the Louisiana coast on Tuesday morning.
Governor Jindal said, “At this point, projections show that we could see tropical storm force winds along our coast as early as late Sunday night. This could potentially affect anywhere from New Orleans to Lake Charles, depending on the direction of the storm. Plaquemines and Iberia Parishes have already declared an emergency in their parishes, and other parishes are expected to declare emergencies today and tomorrow.”
The Governor added that 150 of the 700 buses on contract for an evacuation are arriving in the state today, and the state has requested federal help to assist in standing up the newly constructed shelter in Alexandria. Governor Jindal also ordered the Louisiana National Guard to be ready to deploy more than 1,500 guardsmen to New Orleans as early as tomorrow to assist in securing the city as citizens begin to evacuate their homes, should an evacuation be triggered.
Additionally, the Guard has requested possible aircraft assistance from Oklahoma (1), Colorado (4), Illinois (8), Nebraska (5), Pennsylvania (1), Ohio (1), Maryland (1), and Kentucky (5). The Louisiana Guard already has satellite equipment positioned in Terrebonne, Lafourche, Jefferson, Plaquemines, Saint Bernard, and Orleans Parishes to assist in first responder communications on the ground. Additional satellite equipment will be positioned in Southeast and Central Louisiana today.
The US Army Corps of Engineers was a part of the emergency operation center briefing today, and they reported that they are working to monitor levees and canals in coastal Louisiana. The Corps will ride out the storm in Louisiana and will then fly with the Coast Guard to assess levee conditions after the storm passes.
The Governor also announced today that the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) is beginning to get twice-daily updates from nursing homes and hospitals to ensure they are on track to evacuate patients in need of assistance. DHH is executing their contracts today for ambulance assistance, and they will be receiving 150 additional, requested ambulances from FEMA to assist in the evacuation of patients from nursing homes and hospitals. DHH will have mandatory evacuations of hospitals and nursing homes if the storm reaches a Category 3.
The Governor added that the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is stopping their road construction projects today, in preparation for a possible evacuation. Due to the updated projections of the storm, the Governor updated the timeline of possible state events to include the beginning of phased parish evacuations as early as Saturday.
Also on Saturday, critical needs and medical needs shelters are set to open, including the PMAC at LSU. Pet shelters would also open on Saturday and some hospital and nursing home patients would begin to be evacuated. On Sunday, contra-flow could be activated to assist in evacuation efforts. The state has requested four urban search and rescue teams from the federal government, along with a command center, and their arrival is expected this weekend. This is only a possible timeline of events to prepare citizens, and will be updated as the storm continues to move.
DSS UPDATE on Shelter Locations: People who are evacuating on their own and who do not have an alternative shelter should stop at shelter-information points along the evacuation route to get the most up-to-date information about which shelters are open.
The shelter-information points (also listed on the Louisiana evacuation guides) are located at:
· Tourist Welcome Center, U.S. 65 & 84, 1401 Carter St., Vidalia.
· Tourist Welcome Center, 836 I-20 West, Tallulah.
· Paragon Casino, 711 Paragon Place, Marksville
· Sammy’s Truck Stop, I-49, Exit 53, 3601 La. 115 West, Bunkie.
· Med Express Office, 7525 U.S. 71, Alexandria.
· LSU-Shreveport, P.E. Gym, One University Place, Shreveport.
· Pickering High School, 180 Lebleu Road, Leesville.
· Mowad Civic Center, Fifth Avenue and 10th Street, one block off U.S. 165, Oakdale.
DSS also will assist with the registration of New Orleans area evacuees who require city and/or state assistance in evacuation at the Union Pacific Terminal in New Orleans.
DHH UPDATE on Special Medical Needs Shelters: Five locations are preparing to open as Special Medical Needs Shelters, located in Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Monroe, Bossier, and Hammond. Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport is being prepared for Critical Transportation Needs populations and for pets, should this population be asked to evacuate.
Agriculture and Forestry UPDATE on pet evacuations: A pet evacuation center for residents with critical transportation needs will be open in Shreveport in accordance with the timeline set by the local parish OEP officials. It is only for evacuees with critical transportation needs, and those residents are instructed to coordinate with their local OEP offices to arrange transportation for themselves and their pets to the shelter. Pets under 15 pounds that are carried in a pet carrier will be allowed to travel with their owners on the bus transports (soft-sided carriers are preferred). Larger pets will be placed in size-appropriate pet carriers and bussed separately from their owners to the pet/owner shelter. Other shelters for self-evacuators for pets and owners will open as storm and evacuation conditions dictate. Pets must have proper identification – preferably something permanent like a microchip or tattoo. Dogs and cats need to have proof of annual rabies and other vaccinations. It’s also very important to have collars, leashes, harnesses and kennels for confining animals when necessary. Muzzles may be appropriate for animals that are apprehensive in unfamiliar settings. Pet owners should bring at least a three-day supply of food, water and medications for their animals.