A Look at Louisiana’s Disastrous Flood

By Pacific Standard Staff ,

In the wake of the record flooding ravaging Louisiana, a look at some of the facts and figures.

By Madeleine Thomas

Thousands of flood victims in Louisiana are just starting to recover after last week’s record-breaking flooding ravaged the state — “likely the worst natural disaster in the United States since 2012’s Superstorm Sandy,” the Red Cross states. Nearly 30,000 people and 1,400 pets have since been rescued from the deluge. There have been 13 confirmed deaths.

“This is a historic, unprecedented flood event and because it wasn’t a hurricane or a tropical storm, this rain event didn’t have a name, we have folks around the country that I think are just now realizing how significant it was,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards recently told CNN. “We really need help.”

The photographs below offer a small glimpse into the scope of the damage.

President Barack Obama walks with residents as he tours a flood-affected area in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on August 23, 2016. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

“I come here, first and foremost, to say that the prayers of the entire nation are with everybody who lost loved ones,” President Barack Obamasaid on Tuesday to a group of flood victims during a tour of Baton Rouge. “We are heartbroken by the loss of life.”

Leslie Andermann Gallagher surveys the flood damage to her home on August 17, 2016, in Sorrento, Louisiana. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“I was just speaking to a young woman whose husband died shortly after the birth of her second child, and she was talking about how her daughter was trying to gather all the keepsakes that she had in her bedroom, but reminded her of her father,” Obama added. “And that gives you some sense that this is not just about property damage. This is about people’s roots.”

Sonya Sims looks through items salvaged from her home after flooding on August 17, 2016, in Denham Springs, Louisiana. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Very few people in Louisiana are covered by flood insurance, yet as many as 145,000 homes (totaling $30.4 billion) may have flooded across nine parishes, officials estimate. In St. Helena parish, 99 percent of property owners lack insurance, the Advocatereports. In East Baton Rouge, just one in eight homes has coverage, while 12 percent of homes and businesses are protected in Tangipahoa Parish.

Evacuees take advantage of the temporary shelter in the the Baton Rouge River Center arena on August 19, 2016, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Over $127 million in federal aid have been dedicated to relief efforts like temporary housing and home repairs, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 110,000 people have registered for federal disaster aid so far.

Tracy Thornton walks to his house through a flooded neighborhood on August 15, 2016, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Since 2015, there have been eight 500-year floods—meaning there’s a one-in-500 chance that a flood of such magnitude could occur in a year—according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In just 48 hours, some Louisiana parishes reported more than two feet of rainfall, NPR reports.

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