The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Secretary Suzy Sonnier and Curt Eysink, Executive Director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, recently toured the state-run Megashelter in Alexandria to meet with emergency preparedness staff about disaster relief efforts.
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DCFS provides mass sheltering for the state during disasters and evacuations, and the Louisiana Workforce Commission is responsible for providing meals and snacks to evacuees housed in state-run shelters.
State officials met with Col. Michael Wood, DCFS Emergency Preparedness Regional Coordinator for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services and Moody Tradewell, Emergency Preparedness Lead Area Manager for the Alexandria region.
They also met volunteers from the Northwestern State University Child and Family Network, providing respite child care, arts and crafts, games and other entertainment for children, and saw a display of artwork created by children in the shelter.
On Friday, there were about 1,800 evacuees sheltered at the Alexandria Megashelter, which was the peak occupancy since Hurricane Isaac made landfall. Since that time the shelter population has decreased to just over 1,000 as evacuation orders have been lifted allowing evacuees to return home. More than 3,500 evacuees are still registered in shelters across the state, including state- and parish-run shelters, Red Cross and faith-based shelters.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission reports that 91,439 meals and snacks have been served to evacuees at all state-run shelters meals through midday Sunday, Sept. 2. In addition, the LWC is accepting applications for disaster unemployment assistance, which has been approved for nine parishes: Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany. People can apply online at www.laworks.net.
DCFS has provided up-to-date local information on flooding, neighborhood updates, Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) disaster assistance information, Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program pre-applications and electrical updates. FEMA Relations will be in shelters beginning today to assist evacuees in applying for federal assistance.
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