Fla. Recovery Efforts Continue Following Charley

August 23, 2004

The week after Hurricane Charley made landfall, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $24 million in disaster aid to 10,027 households.

FEMA has received more than 93,000 applications through its teleregistration line (1-800-621-3362), which is now operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The TTY number for speech- and hearing-impaired is 1-800-462-7585.

More than 600 FEMA community relations personnel are reportedly in the field conducting door-to-door outreach in storm-damaged neighborhoods, concentrating primarily on neighborhoods with high numbers of elderly residents.

Nine Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are open and assisting disaster victims. In addition to the representatives of state and federal agencies, crisis counselors are on hand at each.

FEMA has deployed 1,388 personnel to assist in response and recovery efforts. A Disaster Field Office (DFO) has been established in Orlando. This office serves as an administrative command and control center for state and federal recovery operations.

With the return of power and the lifting of boil water notices in some places, current needs for water and ice have reportedly been met. Future needs are being assessed. Large quantities of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), infant formula, baby cereal, fruits, vegetables and meat continue to arrive.

FEMA and the state of Florida have distributed more than 117,000 million liters of water and 5.7 million pounds of ice throughout the disaster area. More than 1,100 trucks are moving supplies from the Lakeland Logistical Staging Area to comfort stations and distribution centers. In order to effectively manage the increasing supply of water and ice, an inventory of items is now being amassed at Lakeland, to be distributed as needed throughout affected areas.

FEMA Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATS) have deployed 142 medical personnel and 16 support staff to the field. Three complete 35-member teams are working in the hardest-hit areas, where they are assisting in treating more than half the people who show up to medical facilities for treatment. Members of seven other DMATS are supplementing assistance to medical facilities throughout the disaster area.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ mission to cover damaged roofs with tarps will start shortly. Vigorous efforts are underway to serve the needs of the 141,647 persons that have been displaced in Osceola, Charlotte, DeSoto, Lee, Hardee, Polk and Sarasota counties. The Lakeland center has received 8,000 rolls of plastic sheeting. An additional 5,000 rolls are en route to assist in the repair of damaged roofs.

Alternate temporary housing units are being identified and 700 travel trailer units have arrived in a staging area. FEMA logistics has tasked 100 drivers to shuttle travel trailers from Atlanta to the Tampa Bay area. FEMA is leasing approximately 200 pads to set up manufactured housing. The General Services Administration continues to search for two buildings (40,000 to 50,000 sq. ft.) to provide alternative housing for up to 2,000 occupants until mobile home facilities are ready.

As of today, the U.S. Small Business Administration had issued 62,395 applications for long-term, low-interest disaster loans – 52,318 home applications and 10,077 business applications.

Providing aid to individuals and households is only one part of the disaster aid authorized by President Bush on Aug. 12. The other part, Public Assistance, provides help to state and local governments and certain qualified non-profit entities to remove debris and provide aid to repair or replace public facilities damaged by the storm. Joint federal/state Preliminary Damage Assessments for Public Assistance have been completed in 35 counties.

The State Emergency Response Team is a collaboration of Florida’s emergency management agencies led by the state coordinating officer.

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