FEMA Disaster Aid to Alabama Tops $566M; NFIP Dispurses $16M in Initial Flood Claims

February 16, 2006

Two hundred days after Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, federal and state officials announced that disaster aid to Alabama has now topped $566.4 million in assistance, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA) and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. The deadline for Katrina survivors to register for federal and state assistance is March 11, 2006.

“We have moved into a new phase with regard to the Katrina housing effort and we are continuing to assist evacuees as they transition from emergency to longer-term housing,” said Michael Bolch, federal coordinating officer, “yet the recovery and rebuilding process will continue with the repair and replacement of homes, private property and infrastructure.”

To date, Alabama disaster assistance includes:

$120.6 million in assistance to individuals and families

* More than 35,000 individuals and families received housing assistance totaling $85.2 million, which includes $60.8 million in rental assistance.
* 29,432 survivors received $35.4 million for other essential needs.

$83.8 million in U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans

* The U.S. Small Business Administration approved $58.5 million in loans to 1,624 homeowners and renters plus,
* $21 million to 263 businesses and
* $4.3 million in loans to 62 small business owners for working capital and repairs.

$362 million was approved for the following

* Public Assistance (PA) approved $89.5 million for infrastructure costs, debris removal, protective measures such as emergency services and law enforcement, road and bridge repair and the restoration of public utilities.
* FEMA has approved close to $1.5 million for crisis counseling services.
* The National Flood Insurance Program disbursed $16 million in initial flood damage claims.
* Alabama has received approximately $722 thousand in Disaster Unemployment Assistance for individuals out of work as a result of Katrina, and who were not covered by regular unemployment assistance.
* More than $254 million was obligated for mission assignments allowing for services, equipment and personnel from many federal agencies, the American Red Cross and other volunteer organizations.

Services included the use of military aircraft for rapid needs assessment, crisis counseling for survivors, interpreters for non-English speaking individuals, and shipments of 280 truckloads of ice, 186 truckloads of water, 103 truckloads of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), 11 truckloads of generators, 27 truckloads of cots and 32 truckloads of blankets.

Other disaster assistance:

* 7,404 individuals live in interim housing facilities. Interim housing includes hotels and motels, and 2,399 travel trailers in state parks, on commercial and private property and on other FEMA leased sites.
* To date, 112,424 Alabama residents applied for various federal and state assistance programs by calling either the toll-free number 800-621-FEMA (3362), the TTY number for the hearing- or speech-impaired, 800-462-7585 or by going online at www.fema.gov.
* 40,222 individuals sought services at 31 State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers. Services for the aging were provided to 1,954 individuals.
* 99 percent or 94,157 housing inspections in Alabama have been completed.
* 256,333 Katrina survivors received food stamps issued by Alabama Department of Human Resources. This represents $29.3 million, received through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
* 3.231 million cubic yards of storm-related debris has been disposed of statewide.
* So far FEMA has approved approximately $2.5 million to help Alabama with costs to provide emergency shelter for evacuees during and after the storm.
* Close to $60 million is anticipated for hazard mitigation projects to help Alabamians rebuild to standards that help prevent damage in future storms.

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