More than $446.5M Approved for Rita Victims in Texas

October 23, 2005

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $446.5 million for individuals and families in Texas affected by Hurricane Rita. The joint federal, state and local disaster recovery effort continues to pour resources into the affected areas.

“The partnership of federal, state and local agencies is vital to help families and communities recover and rebuild,” said Sandy Coachman, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for disaster recovery operations in Texas. “We have made incredible progress, but of course there is much more to do.”

FEMA announced that 439,095 people in Texas have applied for disaster assistance. Almost a third of those have applied online at To apply by phone, call 1-800-621-FEMA (TTY 800-462-7585).

Disaster aid can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses not met by insurance or other aid programs. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also are available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

A snapshot of other disaster aid in Texas in response to Hurricane Rita:

* Nineteen mobile and seven fixed Disaster Recovery Centers are open in the state. More than 198,000 people have visited the centers to talk face-to-face with disaster recovery specialists about assistance programs and services.
* An estimate of 2.19 million cubic yards of debris have been hauled away by the counties and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The total estimate of debris from Hurricane Rita in Texas is 6.3 million cubic yards.
* More than 900 housing inspectors are in the field conducting inspections of damaged property in the hardest hit areas to verify losses of those residents who have filed applications. Over 62,000 inspections have been completed.
* On Sept. 25, shelter population peaked at 99,000 people in 400 shelters; currently there are 406 people in 13 shelters.
* Approximately 7,000,000 meals have been served to emergency relief workers and people in the hardest hit areas.
* Over 99.9 percent of customers have had power restored.
* More than 250 State/FEMA community relations specialists canvassed 17 counties and distributed disaster recovery information to 223 businesses and 1,461 homes. Teams visited 25 nursing homes where they assisted evacuees who needed to register for assistance.
* The USACE has installed 1,760 Blue Roofs (heavy duty plastic sheeting to patch damaged roofs), and has accepted 1,450 additional applications for installation. For more information on Blue Roofs, call 888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258).

Homeowners, renters and business owners affected by Hurricane Rita are encouraged to begin the disaster assistance application process as soon as possible by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech-impaired. The lines remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual registration personnel are able to assist applicants in several languages. Internet registration is available online at

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