Five weeks after Hurricane Katrina’s assault on the Gulf Coast, which was followed three weeks later by Hurricane Rita, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security and Office of Emergency Preparedness (LOHSEP) continue to bring aid to the storms’ victims.
To date, more than 1.3 million Louisianans have applied for state and federal disaster assistance by calling the toll-free registration line, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or by registering online at www.fema.gov. The TTY number for speech- and hearing-impaired is 1-800-462-7585. The phone lines are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
FEMA has approved more than $3.3 billion in payments for emergency assistance and disaster housing, including grants for temporary housing and for minor repairs to make homes safe and habitable.
The 218 remaining emergency shelters in Louisiana now house 17,794 evacuees who will return to their homes or to other transitional housing that will provide a sense of community and normalcy.
Inspections of damaged homes are proceeding, although some of the worst-hit areas have not been accessible. A total of 216,618 inspections have been completed.
More than 1,700 travel trailers are currently occupied by families and relief workers working in hardest hit areas.
In addition, more than 4,502 housing units are occupied. These units include travel trailers, established housing facilities such as extended stay apartments or hotels, and cruise ships.
There are now 31 Disaster Recovery Centers open in the state to provide information and face-to-face help. These centers have assisted, to date, more than 13,479 residents impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved more than $24.3 million in loans to individuals and businesses impacted by the hurricanes.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Operation Blue Roof has installed plastic sheeting to patch damaged roofs to provide temporary shelter in five parishes hardest hit by Katrina. To date nearly 26,750 temporary roofs have been installed.
To date, the American Red Cross has served more than 8.1 million meals in Louisiana and has sheltered 141,018 people in 256 facilities.
The Salvation Army has served more than 1 million meals to state residents, and both organizations have been supported by the Southern Baptist Convention, which has provided field kitchens and cooking.
The total truckloads of commodities shipped to date: 1,691 truckloads of water; 1,485, truckloads of ice; 1,195 truckloads of tarps; 1,011 truckloads of meals ready to eat (MREs).
Nearly 5.3 million cubic yards of debris have been removed to date.
The number of telephone outages in the state has been reduced from 350,000 to 205,506 in the past week.
The Joint Field Office (JFO) in Baton Rouge is staffed by 1,912 total FEMA, other federal and state employees and local hires. The JFO coordinates the efforts of federal, state and volunteer agencies involved in Louisiana hurricane recovery efforts.
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