Baton Rouge, LA -- State and federal recovery assistance totals in the two months since Tropical Storm Isidore and Hurricane Lili hammered Southern Louisiana surged past the $168 million mark, as more than 163,000 residents applied for some form of aid before the Dec.2 registration deadline, which has been extended to Dec. 14.
Federal Coordinating Officer Carlos Mitchell said the scale of disaster assistance reflected the enormous amount of hardship caused by the back-to-back storms. "Imagine the Superdome filled up twice-over with people needing help and you can visualize the scope of the need out there," Mitchell said.
Summaries compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness (LOEP) reflect the broad stream of program funds committed to help Louisiana residents recover from the storms.
Here is a 60-day snapshot of the numbers: (through COB- Dec. 1)
- $62.5 million approved for disaster housing;
- $64 million approved for individual and family grants;
- $41.2 million in low-interest, long-term loans approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA);
- $801,604 requested in Disaster Unemployment Assistance for disaster-related job losses;
- more than $20 million in funding is eligible for the state, cities, parishes and private, non-profit agencies under FEMA's Public Assistance program for repair or replacement of disaster-damaged infrastructure such as roadways, bridges, buildings etc. and removal of debris from rights-of-way and reimbursement of emergency services.
- 621 requests for assistance were filed by cities, parishes and private, non-profit agencies for federal assistance under the Public Assistance program umbrella;
- 13,508 visitors sought information at nine fixed-site Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) and two mobile DRCs provided outreach assistance at 12 locations;
- 1,949,806 million cubic yards of debris were removed so far from municipal and parish roadways;
- 129,585 home inspections were completed; and
- In the recovery phase, 2 million-plus meals and snacks were made available by volunteer agencies to individuals and families displaced by the storms.
Additional state-federal funding was provided for crisis counseling services and emergency food stamps. Disaster aid also includes special no-cost programs such as the Young Lawyers of America, a group that provides guidance on matters regarding assistance and insurance rights.
"In spite of our great strides we're only two months into a long recovery journey," Mitchell said. "We want Louisianans to know we're in this for the long haul and we'll continue to help with unmet disaster-related needs in the months ahead."
"The more than 163,000 Louisianans affected by Tropical Storm Isidore and Hurricane Lili applying for federal assistance make it the largest number of disaster applicants in state history," State Coordinating Officer Art Jones said. "We're proud of what we've accomplished but we know that a lot of our citizens suffered a great deal of hardship and had their lives turned upside-down." Jones praised the efforts of volunteer groups who are continuing to help hard-hit residents and stressed that disaster resistance planning was a key focus of state and federal recovery officials.
"We can't guarantee every outcome, but we can identify weak spots and take actions to reduce risks to our citizens and their property," Jones said.
Jones added that disaster reduction efforts proposed by state, parish, municipal and volunteer groups could benefit from FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program that provides a pool of fede...