Florida Hurricane Irma
Incident Period: Sep 4, 2017 - Oct 18, 2017
Declaration Date: Sep 10, 2017
More About This Disaster
Local News & Media
Visit the News & Media page for events, fact sheets, press releases and other multimedia resources.
- Visit our Disaster Fraud page to learn more on how to protect yourself and your family from fraud.
- Visit our Rumor Control page for a list of identified rumors and help us combat misinformation.
- FEMA is hiring Florida residents to support Hurricane Irma recovery. Click here for more information on how to join our team.
- Visit our Mitigation Outreach page for information on where to get home improvement tips from FEMA Mitigation Specialists.
- Visit our Rebuilding Resources page for a list of materials and information to support Hurricane Irma rebuilding efforts.
- Browse through our library of disaster recovery video resources for people with disabilities.
- Browse through our Social Media Content Library for graphics and content to share on Twitter and Facebook.
Stories of Recovery
As soon as the skies cleared and the roads opened after Hurricane Irma, thousands of people began helping survivors put their lives back together. The Florida Baptist Kitchen prepared 30,000 meals per day that volunteers distributed to survivors. The Red Cross Meal Delivery project offered food to hundreds of survivors in hard-hit Immokalee, Florida.
The Florida Baptist Supply Distribution program worked with local and out-of-state partners to provide food, water and emergency supplies to survivors in Naples.
Over a seven day period, AmeriCorps Volunteers cleared enough debris to fill 200 dump trucks.
Even as Monroe County began to recover from Hurricane Irma, debris still clogged many waterways. A group of friends decided to make marine debris removal their mission. A few months later, the 1,000 members of the Conch Republic Marine Army has collected 90 tons of debris.
Eighteen days after Hurricane Irma’s landfall, St. Columba’s Episcopal Church brought in travel trailers to house survivors who had lost everything. The church later acquired 17 more trailers and is currently rehabbing an apartment complex to help provide affordable housing for Keys residents.
Preserving Florida’s Culture and History
Flooding caused by Hurricane Irma swamped gardens at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville. Staff from FEMA’s Public Assistance and Environmental and Historic Preservation departments toured the facility to assess the storm’s impact and explain how FEMA can help restore the historic gardens.
Hurricane Irma tore the roof off the nonprofit theater and scattered it across the neighborhood. The next day, staff began cleaning up, contacting the theater’s insurance company and filing for assistance from the SBA and FEMA. One month later, the theater reopened.
The museum and gardens, a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places built a large glass canopy to protects art displayed in an outside courtyard, After Florida’s new building codes were enacted, the museum received more than $1.8 million from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to replace it with a hurricane-resistant canopy.
Hurricane Irma displaced hundreds of boats, creating the potential for navigation hazards and discharge of oil and other pollutants into Florida’s waters. FEMA mission-assigned the U.S. Coast Guard which worked with the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife to recover and safely remove vessels.
When Fishermen’s Hospital was closed due to damage from Hurricane Irma, a field hospital was established to provide health care to Keys residents. Although services are limited, the hospital is able to offer medical services to people in need.
Seeing is believing. Prompted by the devastation of Hurricane Andrew, Florida adopted some of the most stringent building codes in the country. Homes built before Hurricane Andrew in 1992 sustained extreme damage when Irma roared into the Keys, destroying most of them. Houses built after the stronger codes were enacted came through the Category 4 hurricane with minimal damage.
St. Peter Church in Marathon, Florida offers another example of the effectiveness of Florida’s building codes. The church, rectory and office were all severely damaged by Hurricane Irma. But, the ministry center—built after the stronger building codes were enacted and designed to withstand Category 4 hurricane winds—survived intact.
In 2005, Hurricane Wilma’s five-foot storm surge flooded the sea turtle enclosure, pushing turtles out of their pools. To avoid that happening again, the Turtle Hospital built new, elevated tanks and developed a preparedness plan. As Irma closed in, the turtles were evacuated and medical equipment was moved to protect it from the hurricane’s wind, rain and storm surge. The church will be rebuilt to comply with the stronger codes and elevated five feet to reduce the potential of future flooding.
Want to learn more of the Hurricane Irma response and recovery? Check out our one year video roundup: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/168673
Contact FEMA with Insurance Settlement Documentation
Survivors who suffered wind and water damage from Hurricane Irma and find themselves insured for some, but not all damages, may initially be designated ineligible for FEMA disaster assistance due to insurance coverage.
Even if you received an initial denial from FEMA, you may be eligible later for help after your insurance claims have been settled if you can demonstrate that your insurance didn’t cover essential needs.
Contact your insurance company and request a settlement letter that details exactly what is covered under the claim.
FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments but may be able to help where homeowners and/or flood insurance did not.
You have up to 12 months from the date you apply with FEMA to submit your insurance settlement records for review. If your settlement has been delayed longer than 30 days from the time you filed your claim, you may write FEMA to explain the reason for the delay. Any funds you get from FEMA would then be considered an advance and must be repaid when you get your settlement.
If you’ve received a letter saying you’re ineligible, whether because of insurance coverage or another reason, additional documentation may be all that is needed to change it. It’s important to read your letter carefully to understand FEMA’s decision so you will know exactly what you need to do.
Examples of documentation are proof of residence, proof of ownership of the damaged property, and proof that the damaged property was your primary residence at the time of the disaster.
You may mail: FEMA – Individuals & Households Program National Processing Service Center P.O. Box 10055 Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
Or fax your documentation to: 800-827-8112 Attention: FEMA – Individuals & Households Program
National Flood Insurance Program
Information about Loss Avoidance. NFIP flood insurance policyholders may be able to get up to $1,000 to help with protective measures taken to avoid flood damage when a flood is imminent.
- Visit FEMA’s How do I File My Flood Claim? site that explains the claims process and steps to follow as you file and work with your agent and adjuster. The more you know, the smoother the process will go.
- Download and print this guide for insured-survivors on What to Do After the Flood
- Report your loss immediately to your insurance agent and ask them about advanced payments: NFIP's Write Your Own insurance companies
- Read more about what to do after your inspection.
- NFIP Policyholders Must Follow the Guidelines of Their Flood Policy When Cleaning Up. Read the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency’s Homeowners' and Renters' Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters.
- How to file your NFIP flood insurance claim infographic.
- What to expect from the different representatives who may visit your home during the disaster process.
Steps to File a Claim
FEMA’s How do I File My Flood Claim? page offers more details on each of the steps below, along with more information for Hurricane Irma survivors who have flood insurance with the National Flood Insurance Program.
Note for Hurricane Irma Survivors: Although ordinarily required within 60 days from the date of loss, completing a Proof of Loss (POL) will be waived for a period of one-year. The insurance company will accept the adjuster’s report to pay your claim. You will need a POL if you find additional flood damage or if you disagree with what the insurance company pays you.
Please keep in mind that even after you receive an initial payment for your flood claim, you have the option to request additional payment. You will need to submit a POL by one year from the date of loss if you request additional payment(s).
Unsatisfied With Your Claim Payment? If after you receive a denial letter (for all or some of your flood insurance claim) from your insurer you are unsatisfied with the dollar amount being offered for flood-loss repairs or replacements, you may explore other options. These options are only available for policyholders who have received a denial letter.
Interagency Recovery Coordination
In the days and weeks after a disaster, a range of work begins to get the affected community back on its feet and rebuild stronger, smarter and safer.
The National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) provides context for how the whole community works together to restore, redevelop and revitalize the health, social, economic, natural and environmental fabric of the community.
After Hurricane Irma carved a path of destruction from the Keys to the Florida/Georgia line, multiple federal agencies came together to assist residents, assess damage and help rebuild a stronger, more resilient Florida.
Business Continuity and Preparedness Guide
|Total Housing Assistance (HA) - Dollars Approved||$712,480,163.67|
|Total Other Needs Assistance (ONA) - Dollars Approved||$308,484,582.49|
|Total Individual & Households Program Dollars Approved||$1,020,964,746.16|
|Individual Assistance Applications Approved||774691|
|Emergency Work (Categories A-B) - Dollars Obligated||$1,669,140,173.22|
|Permanent Work (Categories C-G) - Dollars Obligated||$541,431,717.08|
|Total Public Assistance Grants Dollars Obligated||$2,294,465,276.14|
|Hazard Mitigation Assistance||Amount|
|Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) - Dollars Obligated||$245,939,133.64|