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Louisiana Guard Reacts to Damage, Assesses Needs

American Forces Press Service

BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 3, 2008 – In response to flooding yesterday in West Monroe, La., the Louisiana National Guard delivered 58,000 sandbags throughout the night, with 50,000 more expected to be delivered today.

More than 20 engineer work teams are moving throughout the state to support efforts to assess what needs to be done in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav’s Sept. 1 landfall.

National Guard personnel are deploying to assist with secondary road and tree clearing, debris and trash removal, water and food distribution, evacuee return efforts, generator and power support, transportation and search and rescue.

Security at shelters and hospitals continues to be a priority, as well as hourly patrols to ensure the security of property as residents begin returning to their homes. Soldiers also are helping local police with curfew enforcement to curtail looting and preventing accidents in areas where traffic lights are still out.

“These highly trained and professional citizen-soldiers are willing and prepared to defend themselves and protect the lives of other Louisiana residents,” said Army Capt. Taysha Deaton Gibbes, deputy public affairs officer for the Louisiana National Guard. “National Guardsmen are working closely with local policemen to provide security, supply and water distribution, transportation, and other assistance as locations and requirements are determined.”

The Louisiana National Guard's 62nd Civil Support Team based at the Gillis W. Long Center in Carville, La., is in Terrebonne Parish today conducting environmental assessments and identifying potential hazards that may have been caused by wind and rain from Hurricane Gustav. The 19-member team is working with the parish's Emergency Operations Center, helping to provide them with communications, and assisting in damage assessment.

"We will stay here in Terrebonne until our mission is complete and all environmental concerns have been addressed," Army 2nd Lt. Jacob L. Witte, team leader, said.

Several civil support teams have been brought into the state through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a mutual-support agreement among states. The 7th Civil Support Team has brought 17 members from Missouri to Rapides Parish, and the 45th Civil Support Team from Tennessee is in Lafourche Parish with its 22-member crew.

(From a Louisiana National Guard news release.)

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