In addition to the death and devastation across southeast Louisiana, emergency management crews have been hampered by significant cell outages, reports The New Orleans Advocate. The cause of the outage appears to have been an AT&T switching facility in Baton Rouge that was flooded.
Governor John Bel Edwards said the service disruption makes managing the ongoing emergency situation more difficult. The governor’s own staff and several first responders rely on AT&T for their cell phone service, making it more difficult to direct public safety efforts, reports NOLA.com. Edwards said late Sunday that more than 10,000 people are in shelters and more than 20,000 people have been rescued across southern Louisiana.
It is unknown how long it will take to repair the switching facility. The Governor’s office said AT&T is currently mobilizing a mobile switching facility, but this must arrive from out-of-state, which is “going to be a while.”
“It affects communications, whether people trying to request help, or whether we’re trying to communicate with people to make sure we’re directing assets correctly,” Edwards told The New Orleans Advocate. “It does present a problem.”
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