MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Nearly two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast with powerful winds and record storm surges, the state of Alabama continues to rebuild along with its coastal neighbors. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) have coordinated efforts to reclaim Alabama from the wrath of Katrina, and the federal and state disaster assistance stands as a testament to this monumental undertaking. Officials announced today that federal and state disaster assistance totals have reached a cumulative total of $946.2 million just days before the two year mark of Katrina.
"The efforts of federal, state and local agencies are evident in the great progress we've made in Alabama. Yet, we will continue to work with disaster victims as they rebuild and recover from Katrina," said Transitional Recovery Office (TRO) Director Robert Ives. "We are also prepared to assist the state when future storms call for response and recovery."
Alabama's recovery has included many milestones, including the continual rebuilding of private homes, small businesses and public infrastructure. Eleven counties were declared eligible for Individual Assistance. Once, over 2,500 travel trailers in state parks, commercial RV parks and on private property dotted the Alabama landscape. Today, only 311 remain.
In all, twenty two counties were declared eligible for Public Assistance, enabling FEMA and the state to assess damages to infrastructure, and work together to fund, rebuild and repair schools, hospitals and other public facilities. In Baldwin and Mobile Counties, the hardest hit areas of Alabama, over 2,500 projects were written, resulting in $49.5 Million obligated.
"Alabama has made great strides since Hurricane Katrina, and our partnership with FEMA has helped the state recover. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency continues its mission of preparing for all hazards, and we are encouraging residents to be prepared as well. The agency is poised to respond to natural disasters, no matter how big or small," adds John James, acting director of the AEMA. "We want to stress to the residents the first few hours following a disaster depends upon them, as AEMA is trying to get assistance to them a quickly as possible."
FEMA and the state are also looking to mitigate future disasters as well. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is an essential part of FEMA's mission to reduce the future cost of disaster recovery to the state. To date, over $16 million has been funded for projects ranging from community storm shelters to emergency power generators that will continue critical services to Alabama's population.
Federal Assistance in Alabama since August 29, 2005:
$127.8 million in assistance to individuals and families
- 36,421 individuals and families received housing assistance totaling $89.9 million. This includes $64 million in rental assistance.
- 30,280 Katrina survivors received $37.9 million for other essential needs.
$150.4 million in U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans
- The SBA approved $95 million in loans to 2,495 homeowners and renters.
- $46.8 million to 359 businesses,
- $7.2 million in loans to 83 small business owners for working capital and repairs.
$652 million was approved for the following
- Public Assistance (PA) approved $113.3 million for infrastructure costs, debris removal, protective measures such as emergency services and law enforcement, road and bridge repair and the restoration of public utilities.
- Under the emergency declaration to supplement the state's efforts to assis...