With that being said I would like to point out the incredible job being done by Governor Jindahl and the great people in public service in the state of Louisiana.
Governor Jindal added that all 64 parishes in the state have now declared a state of emergency. In addition to yesterday's parish evacuations, Lafayette has issued a voluntary evacuation order today, Acadia reports that 1/3 of their population has evacuated, Jefferson Parish reports that they are 80 to 90 percent evacuated, and the National Guard has assisted 4,500 residents out of Jefferson Parish.
More than 14,930 residents have been evacuated out of New Orleans, the Houma area reported that they have evacuated all their nursing homes and homebound residents, and with FEMA assistance, 2 trains of more than 2,000 people have been evacuated from New Orleans. FEMA has also coordinated 22 flights of more than 2,240 people to shelters in six other states to assist in evacuation efforts.
The Governor said he spoke to President Bush this morning and that he agreed to activate Title 32, which activates federal funding for National Guard units in other states, instead of just relying on federal reimbursement. The Governor said he has also spoken to Senator McCain, Senator Biden, and Senator Obama, who called for updates on the storm. Additionally, the Governor spoke to Secretary Chertoff, FEMA Administrator David Paulison, and Commander of the US Northern Command Gen. Victor Renuart today on the state's federal assistance needs. Governor Jindal said he requested six to seven more DMAT teams to assist in medical special needs evacuation, and that the President also said he would provide aircraft support in the evacuation efforts to continue every 30 minutes.
Governor Jindal said he also spoke to Texas Governor Rick Perry earlier this morning to thank him for their state's support by sending six C-130s needed to evacuate special needs patients from Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, in addition to his conversations with the Governors of Mississippi and Alabama. The Governor said Alabama has offered to shelter 10,000 more people in general shelter facilities.
SPECIAL NEEDS SHELTERS UPDATE:
Governor Jindal said the state is working with several states to identify shelters for medical special needs individuals, including 53,000 critical needs slot in eight states (more than 7,000 of which have already been filled – and the state continues to fill them at this time), including:
* AL – 10K capacity
* AR – 4K capacity
* MO – 5K capacity
* TX – 10K capacity
* TN – 6K capacity
* GA – 10K capacity
* OK – 4K capacity
* KY – 4K capacity
Currently, 84 out of 115 nursing homes have evacuated in Louisiana (27 with state assistance), and 27 hospitals have had full or partial evacuations. The state is continuing to move special needs patients out of Lafourche Airport, Thibodaux Regional Airport, and Patterson Airport. Federal support flights are assisting in medical evacuations by taking patients to out-of-state locations, including Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Albuquerque. Texas is helping to take patients to a medical shelter in Austin and Mississippi has also provided a C-17 aircraft to assist the operation.
Governor Jindal strongly encouraged those nursing homes in non-mandatory evacuation parishes to evacuate out of harm's way.
NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE:
The National Guard is fully mobilized, including over 7000 Louisiana Guardsmen. Guard Security forces have been deployed across coastal LA to secure communities evacuating:
* 1750 in New Orleans
* 230 in Jefferson Parish
* 42 in St Bernard
* 122 in Plaqumines
* 339 in St Tammany
More than 2,000 Guard security/support forces have deployed to South Central and Southwest LA. 500 guardsmen are assisting New Orleans in support of the city's citizen evacuation plan (including more than 400 bus drivers & over 100 guardsmen are assisting the city with movement control of citizens and evacuation busses).
There are 1,800 additional troops from other states en route, and the Guard is expecting 16,000 additional troops to arrive in next 24-48 hours. The Guard has requested support for their security operations through the EMAC (over 1500 guardsmen):
* 1 Multi Purpose Battalion from KY – over 500 guardsmen
* 1 Multi Purpose Battalion from TN – over 500 guardsmen
* 1 Multi Purpose Battalion from MO – over 500 guardsmen
Guard aviation EMAC requests from 12 states will arrive prior to landfall (total of 26 aircraft) :
* AR – 1 Aviation Battalion Headquarters – 40 guardsmen
* IA – 1 helo
* PA – 2 helo
* MD – 1 helo
* IL – 3 helo
* OH – 1 helo
* KY – 8 helos
* GA – 1 plane
* MS – 5 helos
* IN – 1 plane
* FL – 1 plane
* TX – 1 plane
Aviation EMAC requests from 3 states will arrive post landfall (total of 12 aircraft):
* NY – 3 helos
* NE – 5 helos
* CO – 4 helos
Guard has also made EMAC requests for 88 additional guardsmen:
* TN – satellite communications unit – 35 guardsmen
* TN – special communications team – 10 guardsmen
* WV – special communications team – 4 guardsmen
* TN – logistics distribution team – 28 guardsmen
* Various states – Public Affairs Team – 11 guardsmen
The Guard is currently positioning evacuation helicopters in LaFourche, Morgan City, New Iberia, and St James to conduct emergency medical evacuations as needed to assist parishes. Additionally, nine LANG teams (190 guardsmen) are supporting Contra Flow missions in coordination with the Louisiana State Police in Souteast, Southwest and South Central LA.
Governor Jindal said the Louisiana State Police is continuing contraflow operations in both southeast and southwest Louisiana at this time. Their operations began shortly after 4:00 AM this morning and at this time they expect to be done before midnight.
State Police, in conjunction with officials in Mississippi, are continuously monitoring the contraflow operation in both states and making minor adjustments as necessary to continue uninterrupted traffic flow on all major highways. As of the Governor's briefing, they had stopped contraflow on I-49 because the traffic was light.
SEARCH AND RESCUE EFFORT UPDATE:
Governor Jindal said the Department of Wildlife has filed an EMAC request for 200 additional officers to support their mission, an increase over the 200 requested yesterday to assist in search and rescue operations. The Department is working with FEMA to expedite this request the units are moved quickly. Additionally, 100 swiftwater units are set to come in from Los Angeles County, CA; and TX sent 52 search and rescue team members here this morning.
Department of Corrections UPDATE:
Governor Jindal said the Department of Corrections have evacuated a total of 8,146 inmates by relocating them to state correctional facilities across the state and parish prisons further north. The Department is supporting local law enforcement in coastal Louisiana by providing space for post-evacuation and post-storm arrestees.
Governor Jindal closed by encouraging all media and residents to visit www.emergency.louisiana.gov for most updated information on storm.
A huge KUDOS to the Governor and his people for their leadership in preparing for this storm... Funny how McCain passed over the one Republican that seems to have any sense of leadership, Bobby Jindal, and instead appointed some unqualified republican hack from no man's land Alaska.