U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore (Ret.), who was the Joint Katrina Task Force commander, weighed in on the aftermath from the flooding in southern Louisiana.
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Honore explained that along with the direct impact on Louisiana residents, their families and homes, the flooding also affected a tremendous amount of local businesses.
“This is a real tragedy that has happened here in this flood because it’s taken out so many of our local businesses – about 7,300 businesses in the flood zone we estimate, are now closed. People are not going to go to work there today because they have nothing to sell and they can’t do business and about 60% of our people here work in small businesses so it has a cascading effect,” Honore told the FOX Business Network’s Sandra Smith.
According to Honore, the school system in the area was affected as well.
“In some parishes nearly three-quarters of schools were under water and we have to find alternative places for children to go to school.”
Honore responded to criticisms of President Obama’s decision not to cut his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard short to survey the damage in the region.
“As a military guy having done this twice while in uniform, deal with a major disaster, now as a volunteer here on the ground and a resident of Baton Rouge, I’ve come to a resounding conclusion. We do not need presidents doing search and rescue. We ought to make it a rule, we don’t need them on the ground, we need to be able to spend those assets saving people’s lives. What we do need from these presidents is the authority for the federal government, just like FEMA did after this storm and during this storm, to get on the ground early.”
Honore then discussed the insufficient funding making it to Louisiana residents to get them back in their homes.
“And we’re going to have to get FEMA to open the books up a little bit because the amount of recovery money they’ve been paying is too small to help these people get back in their homes.”
Honore gave kudos to many in the private sector that have donated time and money to helping those impacted by the flooding.
“We have companies that have been reaching out from throughout America. Tyson, to mention one…Coca-Cola, they’ve all stepped up. Budweiser turning their distributors into making water. And they’re taking care of their employees.”
Honore then spoke of the ways Americans across the country can help support flood victims in Louisiana through the recovery process.
“Well the quickest way to help is donations through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, which the governor has commissioned to accept donations, as well as through the American Red Cross. The Red Cross estimates they will spend $30 million here, about $10 million a week as long as we have people in shelters and taking food out to people in the communities. But reach out through your church, where you work, everybody around here, everywhere you go is looking out for their neighbors, looking out for their employees.”