Federal, State Assistance Flows into Panhandle

July 14, 2005

Within 48 hours after Hurricane Dennis struck the Florida Panhandle, essential supplies were moving into areas hardest hit by the storm while utility crews work to restore power across the counties.

Supplies of food, water and ice were immediately trucked in from staging areas to distribution centers throughout the Panhandle. The American Red Cross and other voluntary agencies are assisting with the food and water distribution as well as emergency needs and housing. For more information and the location of distribution centers call 1-866-GET INFO (438-4636).

Since the disaster declaration, more than 5,913 applicants had registered for assistance with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Individuals and business owners who suffered damage due to Hurricane Dennis may register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or register online at www.fema.gov. For the hearing and speech impaired, the TTY number is 1-800-462-7585. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At present, four Disaster Recovery Centers have been opened; two in Escambia County, located in Pensacola and Century; and two in Santa Rosa County, located in Jay and Gulf Breeze. Their operating hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.

State and FEMA teams have been deployed to the Panhandle and are currently assessing damage to homes and public facilities.

Additional teams are also looking at previously placed FEMA housing units in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. If they are damaged and occupied, the housing will be replaced. Unoccupied housing units that have been damaged will be removed.

Meanwhile, more than 50 FEMA community relations officers are moving throughout the affected areas, distributing information on disaster assistance and advising people on how to get help. More community relations officers are expected to arrive to work in the Panhandle in the next few days.

AmeriCorps volunteers are awaiting damage assessments and will be assigned to help clear debris, tarp roofs, or assist where needed to help residents with storm damage.

Those wishing to donate commodities or volunteer their time to assist in response efforts may contact Volunteer Florida’s hotline at 1-800-FL-HELP1 (354-3571).

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