Coast Guard Deploys to Regions Devastated by Hurricane Laura for Cleanup

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Coast Guard Cutter Maple following Hurricane Laura.
Coast Guard Cutter Maple arrived on scene in the vicinity of Calcasieu Channel on August 28, 2020, to begin post-storm assessment following Hurricane Laura. (U.S. Coast Guard)

As the Category 4 hurricane made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, Thursday, 3,000 Coast Guard members, including 32 aircraft crews and nearly 40 boat crews, deployed to the region to assist with rescues, evacuations and survey flights.

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With that portion of the mission now complete, the service is turning to the more than 2,100 buoys, beacons, lights and other navigational aids wrecked or displaced by the storm near Lake Charles, Louisiana and Port Arthur, Texas.

"We are still assessing damages but our teams are working extremely hard to recover and set aids back on their assigned position to ensure the safe and timely reopening of critical waterways," said Chief Warrant Officer Matt Fonville, the aids-to-navigation officer for Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston.

Personnel from five aids-to-navigation units as well as two Coast Guard stations and four cutters, are conducting checks and making repairs.

As of Monday, 20 deaths in Texas and Louisiana were attributed to the storm, including four killed by falling trees and eight caused by carbon monoxide poisoning from generators.

More than 305,000 residents and businesses were without power as of Monday morning in Louisiana, and 53,000 had no electricity in Texas as a result of the storm, according to the website Poweroutage.us.

More than 9,000 evacuees remain in hotels where they were sheltered as the swift-moving storm approached.

Louisiana activated more than 6,200 National Guard members last week for hurricane response: so far, the troops have distributed 893,000 bottles of water, 473,000 meals, 14,000 tarps and 36,000 bags of ice.

Temperatures in the region have been in the low 90s since the storm passed, with the heat index exceeding triple digits.

With much of the region's jobs tied to the marine and fisheries industry, Coast Guard officials urged caution as residents returned to their homes, marinas and the Gulf of Mexico.

"Mariners should use extreme caution transiting through waterways in Lake Charles and Port Arthur due to aids to navigation outages and floating debris," Fonville said.

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

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