UPDATE: Vernon to receive $7 million in FEMA funds for hurricane cleanup

Published 12:49 pm Friday, March 18, 2022

Nearly two years after Hurricane Laura, Vernon Parish is receiving an additional $7.7 million in federal aid to assist with the outstanding costs of debris removal in the parish, according to lawmakers.

“We have been waiting on this for a while. Other parishes and municipalities have already received theirs,” police juror Kenny Haymon said.

On Thursday, U.S. Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy each announced that $7,738,685 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant had been awarded to Vernon Parish to help in their ongoing recovery efforts.

“Our communities are still trying to recover from Hurricane Laura over a year and a half later. This funding will help Vernon Parish pick up the pieces and better prepare for the next storm,” Cassidy said.

The costs associated with hurricane cleanup operations in Vernon Parish far exceeded expectations, parish officials said. The FEMA grant will help pay for the millions that is still owed to debris pickup and monitoring companies. At one point, debris operations in the parish were paused because the cost was becoming so steep for the parish to take on.

According to Parish Secretary Belinda Diehl, the total costs for debris removal and monitoring in the parish was more than $13 million. So far, FEMA has obligated $4.5 million to the portion of the project that is reimbursed at 100 percent. Diehl said the $7 million grant will be put towards the remaining $8.5 million.