INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More Indiana crews have arrived in Louisiana to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Ida.
This latest group will be restoring power.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has relieved Indiana Task Force 1 of its duties and sent them back to Indiana after a week of hard work cleaning up the destruction.
On Saturday, 27,000 electricity workers will arrive to start turning the lights back on in Louisiana; 17 of those workers will be from AES Indiana.
Crews from AES Indiana left Monday. They have been staying in Jackson, Mississippi, and training while they wait to be deployed to Louisiana. Workers from 38 states arrived to their staging site in Avondale, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans on Friday.
“There is, you know, fallen trees, downed power lines, flooding. I mean they really don’t know what to expect until they get on site,” said Kelly Young, AES Indiana director of public relations.
The electricians will start work Saturday.
“The first step is really that damage assessment and power is restored to the essential services and facilities that are critical to public health first and safety,” Young said. “Then the crews will push to restore power to customers and smaller businesses.”
The latest report showed 126,000 customers were still without power in the area. At one point, that number was more than 1 million.
“The damage is just so catastrophic, right? So you are seeing these power lines down, you are seeing fallen trees, you are seeing trees on lines. And so it is really challenging for the crews when they go down there to know what to expect and then to know how to respond and react to that,” Young said.
Local crews have been working since the storm hit on regenerating power. The added 27,000 workers are there to help expedite those efforts.
“They may be assigned and tasked to clearing fallen trees. They may be assigned to working on the poles and trying to get those out of the way, up, fixed, restored. But they will take any and every job that they can to help restore that power to customers as quickly and as safely as they can,” Young said.
There are two men from AES Indiana who also responded to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
It’s not clear how long the mission will take or how much longer thousands will be without power.