Some Louisiana residents who were affected by Hurricane Katrina and chose to evacuate to Texas should be aware that the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is planning to provide assistance to eligible applicants based on damage information obtained through satellite images. These images provide geospatial mapping data as to the depth of water in a particular area. The maps can also view the location and condition of individual homes by zip code.
Currently, verification of home damage in some areas has been impossible for inspectors because of widespread inaccessibility and victims evacuating to other parts of the country.
On-site visual inspections have been conducted in more than 200 locations within the defined areas of the geospatial maps. The results of these inspections support the water levels reported on the maps and offer assurance that awards will be made with the highest degree of accuracy. Previous studies performed by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Association and Louisiana State University have reportedly proven this method to be a reliable form of damage assessment.
Presently, FEMA has contracted with Baker Inc., to provide the imagery and mapping data for this process. To date, Baker Inc. has all the detailed information to provide assistance to residents of these five parishes: Orleans , St. Bernard, Jefferson, St. Tammany and Plaquemines.
Homes that have had two feet or more of standing water will be deemed destroyed; uninsured homeowners may be eligible for the real-property replacement grant of $10,500. Homes with standing water levels between one feet and two feet will be deemed as major damage; uninsured homeowners may be eligible for the real-property repair grant of $5,200. Homes in these designated areas with standing water levels of less than one foot will be deemed as having suffered moderate damage and uninsured homeowners may be eligible for the established “moderate” damage real property repair award of $2,600.
Louisiana residents of these designated areas also may be awarded personal property awards based on the following:
– If they are uninsured
– If they failed the SBA income test or have been denied a low-interest loan by SBA
– Homes with two feet or more standing water will receive between $10,000 and $13,000*
– Homes with between one to two feet of standing water will receive between $5,000 and $6,500*
– Homes with less than one foot of standing water will receive between $2,000 and $3,000.
*replacement award based on two-bedroom home with complete furnishings
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