Clanton, AL -- Disaster assistance resulting from the mid-December tornadoes that slashed through 11 Alabama counties is closing in on the $$3.8 million figure, John Hannah of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has revealed.
Hannah, who is responsible for coordinating all federal aid in the disaster area, said the current total includes more than $563,000 from FEMA itself and $3.2 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
A total of 1,002 persons have applied for some form of recovery assistance, he said. To date, FEMA has approved 106 checks averaging $1,562 for storm victims for home repairs that will make their storm-damaged dwellings habitable again.
Additionally, Hannah said, 154 checks averaging $475 each have been approved for renters or homeowners who need temporary shelter because their residences were damaged by the storms and have been declared unlivable.
Lee Helms, director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA), said 76 direct grants to homeowners have been approved at an average of $4,439 each. The grants, like the other assistance, do not have to be repaid to FEMA. Grants are designed for homes that were uninsured or underinsured, and whose owners are not able to meet minimum SBA loan standards.
SBA loans already total $3,228,500 and have been made to 49 homeowners and business owners. Homeowners have received more than 95 percent of the loans, the SBA's Don Waite said.
FEMA-AEMA assistance has totaled $563,575 and additional help will continue until all eligible needs are met, Hannah said.
In all, federal-state assistance since the storm strikes three weeks ago has reached $3,792,075.