ORLANDO, Fla. -- Just three weeks after devastating tornadoes struck four Central Florida counties many victims have another reason to breathe just a little bit easier. Over the last seven days, the total of federal assistance more than doubled to exceed $13 million in approved funding for these storms and for the Feb. 8, 2007, declaration for prior Christmas storms.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State Emergency Response Team (SERT), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) continue to urge victims of both the Dec. 25, 2006, and Feb. 2, 2007, tornadoes and severe storms to register for assistance by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or for the speech-and hearing impaired 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). Registrations are also accepted online at www.FEMA.gov.
Disaster Assistance Overview: (Total Approved State-Federal and SBA: $13,003,412) as of COB Feb. 21, 2007
|Disasters||Registrations||Temporary Housing Assistance||Other Needs Assistance||SBA||Inspections|
|Feb. 2 Tornadoes||2,237 In declared counties||$1,999,760||$ 351,357||$9,778,500||97.1% Complete 1,014 issued|
|Dec. 25 Tornado & Flooding||282 In declared counties||$ 552,125||$ 49,570||$ 272,100||97.3% Complete 188 issued|
Milestones - Three weeks:
- All 28 households that initially sought travel trailers as emergency temporary housing are in place. Later applicants choosing this housing option are being processed quickly and feasible sites are being identified.
- Disaster Housing inspections were completed, on average, within 28 hours from the time a request for housing assistance was made;
- Five Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) were open within 48 hours of the Feb. 3, 2007, federal disaster declaration. An additional DRC was opened within 24 hours for victims of the Dec. 25, 2006, tornadoes and severe storms. All six centers were fully operational by Feb. 9, 2007.
- More than 2,400 people visited a recovery center since the first one opened; and
- Public Assistance (PA) hosted applicant briefings in three declared counties eligible for infrastructure reimbursement. PA for Lake, Sumter and Volusia Counties now include repairs to roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, utilities and parks/recreational facilities.
State and federal recovery officials continue to remind private property owners with disaster-related debris it is the responsibility of the property owner to move it to curbside for pickup.
Volunteers continue to make enormous contributions to disaster response and recovery efforts. Americorps volunteers are helping homeowners with special needs in clearing debris and moving it to curbside.
The SBA urges survivors to visit a DRC and meet with SBA Disaster Loan Representatives who can answer questions and provide one-on-one assistance with completing the applications. Low-interest loans are as low as 3 percent for homeowners, renters and 4 percent for businesses.
As the need for face-to-face meetings with disaster survivors slows, recovery center operations are being phased out. Residents are reminded the helpline option at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or for the speech and-hearing impaired 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) is available as a follow-up resource for disaster questions. Multilin...