U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond is urging
President Donald Trump to act quickly following devastating tornados that damaged hundreds of homes in New Orleans East
Feb. 7. Trump's only public response to the disaster this week came from the @POTUS account
: "Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in southeastern Louisiana affected by today's severe tornadoes." His more-active personal account hasn't mentioned it.
Gov. John Bel Edwards — also lobbying in Washington D.C. for more flood relief in the wake of August flooding (which Trump visited) — is requesting a federal emergency declaration
, which would activate FEMA Individual and Public Assistance for New Orleans. Currently, a network of city and state agencies and nonprofit organizations are assessing damages, offering temporary shelter and serving meals. Edwards declared a state of emergency Feb. 7
. In a letter to Trump
, Richmond writes that a FEMA activation is "absolutely essential to the recovery of the men and women who live in this important New Orleans community."
"Declaring a disaster for the people of Orleans Parish would show that you are serious about your commitment to be a president for all people and fulfill the promise you made in August to be there for the people of Louisiana when they are in need after a disaster," Richmond said.
Richmond also reminded Trump that one of his campaign rallies stopped at the Lakefront Airport in New Orleans East
, close to the impacted areas.
"This tornado devastated a neighborhood just blocks from the beautiful Lakefront Airport, the location of your well-attended rally during the campaign," Richmond wrote. "It is a community that I know well, having been born here, raised here, and representing people of this area in Congress since 2011. These are hard-working people who have rebuilt their lives and communities after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. They have no seen their homes destroyed and their lives uprooted by a natural disaster once again. This is exactly the type of situation that the Individual Assistance aspect of our nation's disaster response system is designed for, to provide essential support and shelter while people repair and rebuild their homes."
In a statement, Edwards said the tornados "caused another setback for our citizens, but given the amount of devastation they are facing, their resources are limited and the federal government’s assistance is needed to help them rebuild."
Edwards' request for emergency declaration
includes individual assistance for Orleans, Ascension, Livingston and St. James parishes and public assistance for Orleans, Ascension, Livingston, Jefferson and St. James parishes.