BATON ROUGE, La. -- One month after landfall, recovery from Hurricane Katrina continued in Louisiana even as the state reeled from a body blow by Hurricane Rita. In the immediate aftermath of both hurricanes, attention was focused on saving lives and providing emergency life-sustaining water, food and shelter. As emphasis shifts from rescue to recovery, a top priority is to transition people from temporary shelters to permanent housing and homes.
- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of Louisiana are looking at all options including existing rental sources and manufactured housing for people who were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
- To date FEMA has approved $2 billion in payments for disaster housing including grants for temporary housing and for minor repairs to make a home safe and habitable.
- 348 shelters remain open in Louisiana providing emergency housing for more than 47,000 evacuees awaiting return to their own homes or transition to more permanent facilities that will provide a sense of community and normalcy.
- The Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation has been established to help provide immediate assistance to citizens in need through a network of Louisiana charities, non-profit and governmental agencies. The Foundation also is designed to support long-term family restoration and recovery by focusing on education, housing, health care, legal assistance, and jobs for Louisiana families whose lives have been altered by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
- Community relations personnel working with nearly 700 firefighters from throughout the country are going shelter-to-shelter and door-to-door in affected neighborhoods providing disaster assistance information to victims. Their emphasis is on providing helpful information to resolve disaster needs.
- A newly-announced joint program of the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Homeland Security is designed to get transitional housing benefits in the hands of people quickly. It will provide an initial payment of $2,358 per household spread over a three-month period. Several hundred-thousand households are expected to qualify for this assistance under the law.
- To help those evacuees who were previously receiving public housing assistance, or who were homeless, HUD will work with FEMA and local authorities to provide housing vouchers that will address their immediate housing needs.
While housing will remain a top priority for the foreseeable future, massive amounts of other assistance continue flowing to bolster community functions and to repair and restore vital infrastructure.
- More than one million Louisianans have applied for state and federal disaster assistance by calling the toll-free registration line, 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA), 1-800-462-7585 for speech-and-hearing-impaired individuals or by registering online at www.fema.gov
- 21 Disaster Recovery Centers are now open in the state to provide information and face-to-face assistance. These centers have assisted more than 37,000 residents in the first month since Hurricane Katrina struck.
- Massive quantities of relief supplies are flowing daily to hard-hit areas of the state. Shipments to date include 1,130 truckloads of water, 1,011 truckloads of ice and 672 truckloads of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs).
- Electrical power has been restored to 700,000 Louisiana customers affected by Hurricane Katrina.
- An additional 500,000 Louisiana customers remain without electrical power -- the majority as a result of Hurricane Rita.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has provided affected Louisiana communities 135 electrical generators to meet critical needs of hospitals, law enforcement, public safety, water and sewa...