NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Hurricane Rita struck less than a month after Katrina had devastated the Gulf Coast. At one point, Rita reached Category 5 strength before weakening to Category 3, making landfall Sept. 24, 2005, near Johnson Bayou, Louisiana. The storm pounded the coast of Texas and Louisiana and generated a tidal surge that devastated homes and businesses in Holly Beach, Cameron and other small Louisiana communities in its path.
"While many people associate the 2005 hurricane season with Katrina, Hurricane Rita also left a trail of devastation," said Gil Jamieson, FEMA's Associate Deputy Administrator for Gulf Coast Recovery. "We are there for those communities as they recover and rebuild, and we will be there for them until the job is complete."
So far, FEMA has provided more than $914 million in Public Assistance funding toward debris removal, hurricane-related emergency services and repair and reconstruction of the infrastructure that Rita damaged in Texas and Louisiana.
FEMA has provided more than $1.13 billion to over 400,000 households in Louisiana and Texas to help families recover from Rita. Of that total, $935.7 million has covered rental assistance, temporary lodging and housing repairs for those affected by the hurricane. Another $198.8 million has been provided through FEMA's Other Needs Assistance Program to cover loss of personal property, medical costs and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance.
As the recovery from Rita progresses, the number of people having to live in FEMA-assisted temporary housing units has sharply declined. A year ago, there were 16,246 families still living in FEMA provided temporary units. Over the past year, 10,000 families have moved out of their FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes and back into permanent housing.
FEMA has established long term Recovery Offices in Louisiana and Texas to support the States and communities as they rebuild. FEMA has offices in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lake Charles Louisiana, as well as offices in Austin and Beaumont, Texas. Many of FEMA's employees were hired from the local area. "One of the things I am most proud of is that we have been able to put residents back to work, helping to rebuild their own communities," said Jamieson.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.