The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commemorated the one month anniversary of Hurricane Laura making landfall with the installation of the 5,000th roof as part of Operation Blue Roof in southwest Louisiana.
“The blue roof mission is really the most meaningful mission the Corps of Engineers is doing here in southwest Louisiana,” said Col. Zach Miller, Memphis District commander. “It’s directly impacting people, their homes and their families. The blue roof mission is one of the many services FEMA is offering to the people of southwest Louisiana and the Corps of Engineers is the one that is executing it for them.”
Miller added that it’s been invaluable in helping protect people’s homes that might have suffered only minor damage from wind and rain from the hurricane. However, they would have suffered significantly more damage if left alone for weeks or months while they were waiting for permanent repairs to be made.
The first blue roof was installed Sept. 5. Through Sept. 27, more than 10,400 homeowners have signed up for Operation Blue Roof. Of those applicants, 7,800 turned into work orders to our contractors for installation. The 2,600 difference in the two quantities accounts for homeowner cancellations or homes that were considered ineligible due to roof type, extent of damage, ineligible parish or other factors.
In addition to Operation Blue Roof, the Corps is also responding to southwest Louisiana with our temporary emergency power team, often referred to as the 249th Engineer Battalion’s Prime Power, installing temporary generators at critical public facilities like fire stations, water plants, hospitals and radio towers. Through the response, 89 generators have been installed while only 27 remain installed, with the delta being de-installed after regular power was restored to the facility.
Another tool in FEMA’s toolbox the Corps brings to disaster response is infrastructure assessment. Our infrastructure assessment teams deploy to assist the state with damage assessments of water and wastewater treatment facilities, fire stations, hospitals and other critical infrastructure sites that provide services to the public. Through Sept. 27, the team has inspected 191 sites, reporting the findings back to the state, via FEMA.
Hurricane Laura was the twelfth named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season and made landfall on the southwest Louisiana parish of Cameron during the early morning hours of Aug. 27, 2020. The category four storm left several parishes with widespread power outages, downed trees, damaged or destroyed buildings and homes.