WASHINGTON , DC -- The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to provide assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita. Federal resources and commodities continue to flow into Louisiana and Texas .
"FEMA is continuing to respond to meet the needs of those victims of Hurricane Rita in Texas and Louisiana ," said Acting FEMA Director R. David Paulison. "FEMA will be on the ground in Louisiana and Texas to assist in this recovery effort for as long as it takes."
Update on FEMA response activities for Hurricane Rita:
- FEMA has over 500 medical personnel in Beaumont , Livingston, Port Arthur , Nacogdoches , Woodville, and Orange , Texas ; as well as Lake Charles and Alexandria , Louisiana . Almost 2,000 patients in Texas and Louisiana have been treated.
- Voluntary agencies and the state of Texas opened 353 shelters that housed 108,047.
- So far 48 truckloads of ice, 49 truckloads of water, and 31 truckloads of food have been delivered to the Texas and Louisiana for distribution in response to Hurricane Rita.
- Eleven teams of federal and state disaster recovery officials are visiting Beaumont , TX , today. The teams are there to be in contact with local officials, assess damage, provide information to victims of Hurricane Rita, and identify any special needs in the community.
- Seven Disaster Recovery Centers are open in Texas to assist the victims of Hurricane Rita apply for disaster assistance. Disaster assistance includes: grants to help pay for temporary housing, minor home repair and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also are available for residential and business losses not covered by insurance.
- FEMA is making Expedited Assistance in the amount of $2,000 available per eligible household in the Louisiana parishes of: Cameron, Calcasieu, Beauregard, Vermilion and Jefferson Davis; and in the Texas counties of: Chambers, Galveston , Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty , Newton , Orange and Tyler . This assistance will be allocated for transportation, food, clothing, rental housing or other housing accommodations while these residents are displaced from their homes.
- USDA is working closely with Texas and Louisiana officials to assess and investigate Hurricane Rita's impact on livestock. As the Hurricane Rita affected areas along the gulf coast become accessible, USDA will begin assistance through the Emergency Watershed Protection program as needed.
- As rescue missions diminish in the affected areas, the US Coast Guard will focus on waterway restoration and pollution assessments and cleanup.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.