Enforcement agents at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had already rescued nearly 3,000 people as of Monday morning, having begun its efforts at around 4 a.m. on Friday of last week. The department’s agents had also conducted rescue missions for 566 animals during the same time frame.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, meanwhile, has been working with the federal government to expand the major disaster declaration that was issued Sunday evening. It initially included East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes.
“This is an ongoing event, and we are confident that every available state and federal resource will be brought to bear,” Edwards said. “I fully expect that more parishes will be added to the declaration on a rolling basis.”
Edwards said on Monday morning that he had included all of the affected parishes, stretching west into Acadiana, in his office’s latest request to the federal government.
The governor is actually a flood victim himself; the basement of the Governor’s Mansion received chest-high waters and electricity had to be cut off, forcing a relocation of the Edwards family.
Officials at the Department of Health are also overseeing a separate declaration of a public health emergency that was released over the weekend that temporarily suspends licensure requirements for emergency medical technicians.
With floodwaters expected to rise again along rivers and creeks as the upstream floods flow south, state officials consider this an ongoing crisis and the National Weather service said areas in Ascension, East Baton Rouge and Livingston will remain at risk until the end of the week.