Aid to Fla. Victims Coming at Record Speed

August 26, 2004

More federal and state aid has reportedly flowed, and flowed faster, for Hurricane Charley than for any presidentially declared disaster in history.

Total federal and state grants to individuals and families in the 12 days from Charley’s landfall at 5 p.m. on Friday the 13th through Wednesday, Aug. 25 at 11 p.m. have been $66 million. Federal officials reportedly said they can recall no other disaster when so much aid flowed so quickly, aided by the processing centers staying open round the clock, with a staff of 1,000.

“Charley’s victims are getting aid faster than those of any previous disaster, anywhere,” said Bill Carwile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official leading the federal response to Hurricane Charley. “Our job is by no means over, and we won’t let up until it is. But we want the people of Florida to know help is coming as fast as we can make it happen.”

The aid figure above is just the grant money given to individuals and families, and does not include loans from the Small Business Administration or aid spent directly on such missions as delivering water and ice, supporting mass care operations, and other emergency measures. In addition to that:

In the first 12 days, 145,263 applicants have signed up through the FEMA registration phone line, 800/621-FEMA (3362).
Through Wednesday night, inspectors had been assigned 54,818 homes to look at, and had finished their inspections of 47,840, or 87 percent. The average time between when residents called FEMA and when their home was inspected was reportedly two days, 2 ½ hours.

“This has also been an unprecedented effort by state people and agencies,” said Craig Fugate, the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) official leading the state’s response to Hurricane Charley. “We’ve pulled in people from all over the state and from almost every agency to work with FEMA step by step. And we will maintain this effort until every victim is in safe, livable housing.”

The State Emergency Response Team is a collaboration of Florida’s emergency management agencies led by the state coordinating officer. SERT’s mission is to ensure that Florida is prepared to respond to emergencies, recover from them, and mitigate their impact.

Visit for the latest information on the hurricane relief effort.

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