Access to gas continues to be one of Louisiana’s biggest needs following Hurricane Ida, Gov. John Bel Edwards said. Gas station outages are mounting in Louisiana’s two biggest cities, with a staggering 68.5% of the gas stations in Baton Rouge and 64.7% in New Orleans out of gas, according to outage reports compiled by GasBuddy.
Analysts said these gas station outages are being driven by a combination of spiking demand as people drive out of the region and complications supplying the fuel caused by power outages. Tanker truck drivers, for example, often can’t fill up if there is no power at terminal racks that dispense fuel at refineries.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent more than 1,100 employees to support the response to the storm in the region. The agency has also awarded nearly $93 million in individual assistance, officials said.
For St. Tammany Parish, State Rep. Mark Wright said efforts to restore power were exceeding expectations.
“I know initially we thought we were talking three to four weeks, you know, we’ll see where it goes from here, but things are moving along,” Wright said.
But much of the work relies on gas, and many families need to stock up to supply their generators. Some residents braved the dark and the heat to find fuel.
This will “alleviate any logistical issues of moving crude oil within areas affected by Hurricane Ida to ensure the region has access to fuel as quickly as possible,” the Energy Department said in a statement.
Catastrophic damage in Lafourche
Lafourche “took the brunt of this storm,” enduring sustained winds of 130+ mph for 12 hours, Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson said Thursday.
Chaisson estimated around 25% of homes had been catastrophically damaged, while another 30% to 40% have severe damage. Crews remain on the ground clearing roads, Chaisson said, and debris pickup should begin Friday.
The two shelters within the parish have been closed “due to limited power supply” and those residents have been relocated to Ascension Parish until further notice, Chaisson said.
“We are working with FEMA to try to figure out how do we shelter these people,” he said noting that “hotel rooms are scarce because a lot of the hotel rooms took damage as well.”
Death of 4 nursing home residents
Three of the deaths have been classified as storm-related, according to LDH.
The Department of Health said it heard reports about “deteriorating conditions” at the facility after Hurricane Ida made landfall and inspectors were sent to visit the site on Tuesday, but were expelled from the property and kept from doing a full assessment, according to LDH.
After that, health department officials began moving people out of the warehouse, starting with the most vulnerable. “In a little over 24 hours, all 843 residents were removed from the facility,” Edwards said.
Authorities will investigate if the facilities failed to keep residents safe, if officials were kept from checking in on them and what the conditions of the facility were, Edwards said.
Power returns to hospitals
After completing their first estimate Thursday, Entergy Louisiana President and CEO Phillip May says they expect to restore power to “the majority” of customers in greater Baton Rouge area who can take power by September 8.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess, Matt Egan, Geneva Sands, Gregory Lemos, Keith Allen and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.
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