Florida Federal Disaster Aid for Hurricanes Tops $1.7 Billion

October 18, 2004

Money to help Floridians whose lives were severely disrupted by the ravages of four major hurricanes in a two-month period continues to flow into disaster-stricken areas.

Federal and state aid has reportedly surpassed $1.7 billion as of Oct. 15, with more than 936,000 registrants to date seeking assistance for losses suffered from Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne as well as from Tropical Storm Bonnie. Not since the l880s, and never in Florida’s history, has the calamity of four hurricanes striking one state in a single season occurred.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT) recently gave a snapshot summary of the assistance making its way to individuals and families striving to recover from the August and September storms.

The counties with the greatest percentage of households receiving assistance, including Charlotte, DeSoto, Escambia, Hardee, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, Osceola, Santa Rosa, and St. Lucie counties, reflect those counties where the hurricanes made landfall and caused the most significant damage.

“FEMA is continuing its efforts to make sure that people know that help is still available,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Bill Carwile. “Although over $1.7 billion in relief has been provided to victims of the hurricanes, FEMA will not be 100% satisfied until each and every victim has received the help they are entitled to.”

Craig Fugate, SERT director, added, “Our goal is to provide all authorized assistance to every eligible person as soon as possible.

More than $822 million has been authorized for emergency expenses. Nearly $670 million has been given by FEMA and the state for Florida homeowners, renters and business owners. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved $225 million for low-interest loans for homes and businesses. Money has also begun to flow to communities through FEMA’s public assistance (infrastructure) program, which has approved $11 million for public projects.

More than 200,000 people have visited Disaster Recover Centers across the state to get more information concerning their cases, disaster assistance, and ways to rebuild more safely.

SERT is a collaboration of Florida’s state 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 www.floridadisaster.org for the latest information on the hurricane efforts.

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