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Thursday, January 20, 2005
Olla, Louisiana is a small town in LaSalle Parish that was struck by devastating tornadoes this past November. Hundreds are now without homes and this small community is struggling to get back on its feet.
My friend who told me about the situation lives about 30 minutes away. He was appalled at the destruction he saw on a recent drive through Olla.
Even though Olla has lost almost a third of their residential housing, FEMA has denied any help to the town. From Olla's official website, these are the major points of consideration posed to FEMA:
1) Olla has lost approximately 33% of its residential housing. Over 192 properties have been leveled or damaged out of an inventory of 587 houses identified in the Olla 2000 Census. Of the 192 properties we have identified approximately 60 that are uninsured property owners ranging in family size from one to nine, with an average of three persons per family.
2) Economic impact: There is an extremely high probability that 45% of the affected households will decide to move out of the area permanently within three weeks. A majority of residents commute greater than 20 miles to work each day due to plant closings and job losses sustained less than 5 years ago. (The closing of production facilities at Louisiana Pacific and Holloway Sports Wear cost the combined communities of Olla-Urania-Tullos 424 jobs in a combined population area of 2400 residents.
3) Our 192 Tornado victim families do not have available local housing. The current inventory equals seven available properties for purchase or rent. These properties or structurally dated and require some work in all but two cases. There is minimal opportunity for housing within a 20 mile radius.
2000 Census indicates a Per Capita Income of $9,015.00 based on 1,410 residents. We have a high percentage of senior citizens, 25.1% over age of 55. We believe this number to be low.
On 11/23/04, two days before Thanksgiving, Olla suffered a tornado of F2 & F3 magnitude. FEMA HAS DENIED PA (Public Assistance) for the town to rebuild. FEMA is reviewing our needs for Individual Assistance (IA) to determine if a declaration will be recommend to the President.
On or about January 3, 2005, Olla was DENIED IA from FEMA.
As of 1/1/2005 the APPEAL lies on Governor Blanco’s Desk in Baton Rouge, LA.
As you can see, the situation is a sad one. How can you help? Go and sign the appeal/petition to FEMA. This will only take a few seconds and every signature counts! Please go and sign: Appeal for Denial of Assistance.
Pass this on if you can - we send aid all over the world when it is needed, but we must take care of our own as well.