NEW CASTLE, Del. -- Seventeen days after the declaration on Sept. 21 by President Bill Clinton, disaster relief passed $1 million in New Castle County. This total includes $511,899 in grants for disaster housing, $34,585 for individual and family grants and $573,500 for U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest loans.
The process of recovery is being moved along by new technology across the board:
- Individual Assistance - The 800 number allows registration to be taken as soon as a disaster occurs instead of waiting for an office to be set up in the disaster area. Staff in the field can verify losses and upload their reports overnight. A new, sophisticated database allows documents that used to be faxed or mailed between facilities to be scanned into the system and available at the touch of a computer key.
- Public Assistance (which helps pay for emergency debris removal and emergency protective measures as well as restoration of publicly owned facilities) - A new, streamlined process has reduced paperwork, improved records, increased teamwork with applicants and should reduce disagreements and appeals. Improved technology, such as GIS and digital imaging, also assist in locating and more accurately documenting storm related damages.
- Hazard Mitigation (which assists in steps that prevent future losses of lives and property due to disasters) -- The GPS/GIS systems use precise technologies to target and map the locations of good mitigation projects. After elevations of affected structures are determined, computerized cost-benefit programs are used to evaluate these mitigation projects and to make sure the dollars are spent effectively.
A demonstration of some of the new technologies that speed recovery assistance was scheduled for a press conference and congressional briefing Friday at the Disaster Field Office. A tour of the facility, which is a temporary FEMA/DEMA office set up for the disaster response, was also scheduled.