FEMA/Fla. Officials Continue Frances Assistance

March 7, 2005

Hurricane Frances, the second of four 2004 hurricanes, hit Florida’s east coast along the St. Lucie/Martin county line as a Category 2 storm on Sept. 4, 2004. It slowed to a tropical storm, crossing northward and exiting out into the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall again on Florida’s Panhandle in Wakulla County.

By the time the storm finally departed the Sunshine State two days later, 1.8 million individuals had evacuated their homes- some for the second time- and more than 3.2 million households were without power.

Still recovering from Hurricane Charley, the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) increased rescue and recovery efforts for the state’s second deadly hurricane in less than three weeks. Insurance experts estimate Frances is the fifth costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

A breakdown of the amounts and types of disaster assistance provided because of Hurricane Frances is as follows:

* Nearly 459,000 individuals have registered for state and federal assistance;
* More than $402 million in federal and state disaster assistance grants have been approved for Floridians. Of that amount, $187 million has been approved to pay for lodging expenses, rental assistance and minimal home repairs. More than $215 million covers other needs, including such items as repair or replacement of personal property, funeral expenses, and medical and dental costs related to the storm;
* The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved $313.5 million for 51,486 applications for low-interest loans to repair storm-damaged homes and businesses;
* More than $6.3 million has been disbursed in Disaster Unemployment Assistance;
* To date, $130 million in public assistance funds has been obligated for 929 requests for aid from local governments and private, nonprofit entities;
*Nearly 328,000 housing inspections have been completed for this disaster;
* More than 225,800 tarps were distributed to individuals, and volunteers and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers covered nearly 54,000 roofs with plastic sheeting (figures combine Frances and Jeanne stats);
* 8,603 National Flood Insurance Program claims have been received;
* More than $265 million was paid for emergency response and protective measures including dispersing ice, water and ready-to-eat meals;
* 368 shelters were set up to hold 186,620 individuals;
* Volunteers cooked 2.87 million meals;
* Disaster Medical Assistance Teams treated 1,461 patients.
Still reeling from Hurricanes Charley and Frances, two additional hurricanes descended upon Floridians, all in a seven-week period.

The devastation left by these events spurred more than 1.24 million victims to apply for federal and state assistance by the Monday, Feb. 28, 2005, deadline.

Approved aid for all 2004 hurricane damages to date has surpassed $4.3 billion:

* $1.148 billion for human services/ individual assistance including housing, personal property and other expenses, crisis counseling and legal services;
* $1.170 billion for emergency response and protective measures;
* $1.46 billion from the SBA for low-interest loans to repair homes and businesses; and
* $559 million in public assistance funds to help local governments and certain private, nonprofit entities repair and rebuild infrastructure and buildings, and clear more than 53 million cubic yards of debris.

More than 872,000 housing inspections have been completed and Floridians are residing in 15,500 manufactured units brought into the state by FEMA to house residents with no other means.

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