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Louisiana reports first Hurricane Delta deaths; 348,000 remain without power

Greg Hilburn
Monroe News-Star

Louisiana's first Hurricane Delta-related deaths were reported Sunday and 348,000 remained without power from the storm that swept through the state Friday and Saturday, battering many areas still reeling from Hurricane Laura six weeks before.

An 86-year-old St. Martin Parish man was killed in a fire that was likely caused from improper generator operation, while a 70-year-old Iberia Parish woman died in a fire likely caused by a natural gas leak following damage from Hurricane Delta.

Many of the 30 deaths reported in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura were also related to generators, while others were related to accidents during cleanup.

Damage seen near Lake Charles, Louisiana, following Hurricane Delta on October 10, 2020. A Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew conducted an overflight of impacted areas to assess damage.

"I want to remind everyone that there was only one of the 30 Laura deaths that was directly caused by the storm," Gov. John Bel Edwards has reminded those using generators and clearing trees and limbs from their homes, businesses and yards.

About half of the 688,000 electricity customers that suffered outages at the peak of Hurricane Delta had been restored by Sunday afternoon.

Power outages:See interactive map of power outages in Louisiana

Help for damaged roofs

Edwards said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviving its Operation Blue Roof program that professionally installs the familiar blue tarps on damaged roofs until permanent repairs are made.

Those tarps will cover some of the same homes and businesses that were damaged by Hurricane Laura, some of which were ripped off by Hurricane Delta.

Hurricane Delta:Gov. Edwards speaks about storm's effect across the state

'Pretty disturbing':Lake Charles residents see their resilience shaken by Laura, Delta

People in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vernon are eligible for the Blue Roof program.

To be eligible the houses must be inhabitable after installation.

Sign up for that program at http://mvn.usace.army.mil/ or call 1-888-766-3258.

Gov. Edwards surveys damage

Edwards toured damage by helicopter in Allen and Evangeline parishes Sunday after surveying damage in southwestern Louisiana in the immediate aftermath of the storm Saturday.

He said many of people whose homes and businesses were damaged by Hurricane Laura will have to begin repairs all over again.

"It’s going to set us back, but it’s not going to dictate our future," Edwards said.

Aftermath:Hurricane Delta delivers another cruel blow to storm-weary Louisiana: 'Unprecedented'

More than 9,000 evacuees from both Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta are being sheltered by the state.

More than 3,000 National Guard soldiers have been activated to assist in hurricane relief and rebuilding.

"We're all over the state," Louisiana National Guard Gen. Keith Waddell said. "We're hitting it hard."

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.