TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- More than $2.1 million in federal disaster aid has been approved to help people recover from losses caused by severe March storms, tornadoes and flooding across north Florida that resulted in a major disaster declaration by the president.
The financial help was approved for people who were found to be eligible for assistance in 17 counties designated as disaster areas for Individual Assistance. The counties are: Calhoun, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Wakulla, Walton and Washington.
While federal and state disaster recovery officials continue to respond to the serious needs of people and communities who suffered losses in this north Florida event, they are strongly urging everyone to review and update their disaster plans now before the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season that begins in just 17 days, June 1. Floridians can go to www.FloridaDisaster.org to develop their personal, family or business plans.
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and State Emergency Response Team (SERT) continue to encourage people who suffered uninsured or underinsured losses related to March 26 - May 5 storms and flooding in the designated counties to register for help with FEMA.
There is still time to register by dialing 800-621-FEMA (3362) any day between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time or TTY 800-462-7585 for people with speech or hearing impairment. An application can also be made on FEMA's new Web site, www.disasterassistance.gov at any time. A person may also track the status of an application on that site.
Here is a summary of assistance to individuals through Thursday, May 14:
- $1,863,132 in total housing and personal needs has been approved.
- Of that amount, $1,652,548 has been approved for housing expenses, including temporary rental assistance, home repair costs and assistance toward replacing destroyed homes.
- $210,584 has been approved as "Other Needs" to cover other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.
- $293,500 in loans to homeowners, renters or business owners has been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- 923 applicants have registered with FEMA for some form of disaster assistance.
- 1,138 visits have been made at Disaster Recovery Centers operated jointly by FEMA and the state of Florida.
- 696 home inspections to confirm disaster damage have been completed.
- Teams of state and FEMA Community Relations field specialists have distributed more than 25,000 flyers and worked in the affected counties to help identify and assist disaster survivors. More than 59,000 electronic flyers have been sent to various sites in the disaster area. In the course of explaining the recovery process, they have visited:
- 2,258 residents
- 680 businesses
- 174 faith-based groups
- 105 community organizations
- 21 schools
- 75 emergency managers, fire and law enforcement officials
- 37 government officials
- 16 post offices
Here is a county-by-county breakdown of disaster funds approved through May 14:
Individuals And Households