FEMA informed state officials about the decision earlier this month. The ban also includes temporary buildings.
FEMA said the zones cover more than 80 percent of Cameron Parish — and that’s the main reason hundreds of homeless residents have not been issued temporary housing since the storm.
Parish officials said they plan to appeal because the maps are only preliminary surveys, and a parish-hired consultant has found mistakes.
Can FEMA do the same to Vermilion Parish?
Chris Theriot, who is the police jury secretary and administrator, felt confident that FEMA would not stop the rebuilding process because Vermilion Parish was not as devastated as Cameron Parish.
“Vermilion did not have the destruction as Cameron Parish had,” Theriot said. “. We did not lose any structures like Cameron Parish. Eighty percent of the parish is in a flood zone.”
The two hurricanes brought mostly flooding to southern Vermilion Parish. The storm surge caused some damage on buildings in Intracoastal City and in Henry.
Cameron Parish can continue to rebuild, according to Theriot, but FEMA will not refund the cost of rebuilding.
Cameron Parish Administrator Tina Horn said construction had started on
many buildings with obligated funds — and FEMA backed off from those buildings with its ruling. But other buildings, such as a school Horn wants to repair, could face being totally rebuilt at a higher elevation.
In a letter to Paul Rainwater, head of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, FEMA wrote that federal regulations bar almost all approvals for new construction, or substantial improvements in such flood-prone areas as Cameron Parish.
(The Associated Press contributed to the story).