BATON ROUGE -- Sixteen parishes were added to the federal disaster declaration list Tuesday with Gov. John Bel Edwards promising other parishes and victims won't be forgotten as the scope of the disaster widened and the death toll rose to 11.
"I'm confident more parishes will be added as we move forward," Edwards said during a press conference that included Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate. "Nobody has been forgotten."
Twenty parishes have now been declared disasters, triggering federal help.
They include: Acadia; Ascension; Avoyelles; East Baton Rouge; East Feliciana; Evangeline; Iberia; Iberville; Jefferson Davis; Lafayette; Livingston; Pointe Coupee; St. Helena; St. Landry; St. Martin; St. Tammany; Tangipahoa; Vermilion; Washington; and West Feliciana.
Edwards asked for 21 parishes to be declared federal disasters in his initial request. Still waiting is Cameron from the original request, although more parishes could follow.
"We're adding (parishes) to the list as soon as we can get (data)," Fugate said.
In the meantime, Edwards and Fugate emphasized all flooding victims should register with FEMA at 1-800-621-3362. Once their parish is included in the declaration, they can register online at disasterassistance.gov.
"Don't wait," Edwards said.
The federal disaster declaration triggers assistance for those whose homes and businesses have been damaged or displaced. Those who don't have flood insurance can still qualify for grants up to $33,000 for repairs. Temporary housing assistance will also become available.
Louisiana's historic flood has damaged more than 40,000 homes so far, a number growing. More than 30,000 high-water rescues of people and more than 1,000 pet rescues have already taken place.
Edwards said the recovery phase is beginning, but the response phase "is nowhere near being finished. While we are beginning to enter recovery we are still very much in emergency response mode," he said.
Fugate said the scope of the storm's impact belies the national media attention it has received.
"It's probably on the third or fourth page (of national newspapers), but FEMA understands this is a very large disaster, and our commitment is to support the governor through a full recovery," he said.
It's the second trip to Louisiana this year for Fugate, who also came during the northern Louisiana flood in March.
"This one is bigger and has impacted more people," he said.
Edwards reassured Louisianians the state's fragile financial status — budget cuts are ongoing — won't hamper the state's response to the storm.
"Our financial condition won't limit what we do to make sure the people of Louisiana get the assistance they need," he said.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1