Panhandle Disaster Assistance Tops $640 Million

November 29, 2004

Residents of Florida’s Panhandle affected by Hurricane Ivan have received a total of $643.3 million in federal and state disaster aid since Sept.16, 2004, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) announced.

That aid comes in the form of grants to homeowners and renters; low-interest loans from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA); funds approved for various emergency measures prior to, during and following the storm, and financial aid to state and local governments and certain private, non-profit organizations.

A breakdown of the disaster relief shows assistance to individuals now totals $118.7million. Of that amount, $56.4 million covers such expenses as temporary housing and/or home repair for 36,070 applicants, and $62.2 million is allocated to cover necessary expenses such as medical and dental costs, transportation expenses and other storm-related financial needs.

The SBA has approved $119.9 million in low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and business owners.

FEMA has obligated $364.7 million to cover the increased costs of local and county emergency services and protective measures since Hurricane Ivan struck the Panhandle area.

Storm damage to community public facilities (infrastructure) might overwhelm a community’s operational budget. FEMA assists with the recovery from such damages for the Florida hurricanes by paying 90 percent of the storm-related eligible projects. To date, Panhandle communities have submitted 222 requests for assistance and have already qualified for $40 million in Public Assistance Grants.

Immediately after Hurricane Ivan hit, FEMA, working through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, began the process of providing roof tarps to storm victims for temporary repairs to their roofs to prevent further damage to their homes, while contractors and AmeriCorps installed protective plastic sheeting on homes. Approximately 97,700 tarps were distributed to individuals, and plastic sheeting was installed on 51,175 structures.

FEMA inspectors have completed more than 86,600 housing inspections to verify damage claims.

Some 8,718 National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) insurance claims have been submitted for damages from the storm.

More than 72,200 applicants have visited the 14 Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) that have served the Panhandle region for ongoing information and assistance. Presently, there are nine fixed DRCs and, beginning Monday, Nov. 29, one mobile DRC Unit operating in the area. All centers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday Through Saturday.

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