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Plaquemines parish meeting to discuss FEMA flood plans as residents rebuild

The meeting is set for 3 p.m. Thursday in the Belle Chasse Council chambers. Residents are encouraged to come to get their questions answered.

PLAQUEMINES PARISH, La. — The recovery and rebuilding stages after Hurricane Ida continue to take a toll on some Plaquemines Parish residents. Now, families have one more thing to think about: FEMA's new flood risk plans. This afternoon, parish leaders will meet with residents to explain what FEMA has imposed and their options.

Aside from what some residents are saying, this new plan is nothing new. According to parish President Kirk Lepine, the new flood risk mitigations have been in the works since January 1st.

"We knew this was coming, but we hadn't had a hurricane so now I think people feel like they were blind-sided because they want to rebuild," Lepine said. "It's something we want to make our people aware and understand what they have to do to move forward."

Lepine says he understands residents are wiped out and they're wondering when they can return home or rebuild, but he says right now it's still a tricky conversation. He says he wants to give residents accurate information when it comes to their property. There are rules and regulations imposed by FEMA pertaining to raising a home or trailer by at least 12 feet depending on your zone. He says FEMA set those zone maps and it's ultimately out of his control.

"Even if those back levees are built down the road, then you would still have to elevate, and that's part of the process FEMA brings to us and tells us what we have to do to be in the NFIP program," Lepine said. "If we don't adhere to what they say, there's a chance, an opportunity FEMA could pull the NFIP from us and not allow any residents to do it. So, it's something we must address."

Lepine says when it comes to finding avenues to help residents fund this costly expense, that, too, is out of his control.

"At this present time, there's none available, yet. I say that because I do believe they're going to step up and there will be some grants available, and we'll have to go through the process of getting our residents qualified who can and get them the help they need," he said.

Lepine is trying to get clarity on where families can go, even if they're in temporary housing through programs from FEMA or the state.

"We have to make sure we can put them in a safe place and closest to their house. That's been a big thing for me," Lepine said. "I want someone to be as close as they can so they can rebuild their home. It's still, again, we're waiting to see. FEMA is in charge of the trailers, the state is in charge of trailers, so they'll tell us where they'll be able to put those trailers."

The meeting is set for 3 p.m. Thursday in the Belle Chasse Council chambers. Residents are encouraged to come to get their questions answered.

   

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