ORLANDO, Fla. -- A year after Ivan made landfall as a category 4 hurricane, more than $1.4 billion in federal and state disaster assistance has been approved for individuals and communities in Florida’s 15 hardest-hit Panhandle counties.
“FEMA continues to stand with Floridians and is working with state and local governments to ensure those affected by Ivan have access to all of the disaster assistance for which they are eligible,” said Scott R. Morris, director of Florida Long Term Recovery for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“As other states begin the recovery after the devastation of Katrina, FEMA will support their needs but we will be continue to focus on Florida and help those who already have suffered losses,” Morris said.
“We recognize that Hurricane Dennis had an impact on many of the same families and local governments that were still recovering from Ivan,” said Larry Koslick, recovery manager for the Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT). “In partnership with FEMA, we will continue to help communities restore critical infrastructure and essential facilities damaged by the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005.”
After Hurricane Ivan, more than 138,500 residents of Florida’s 15 westernmost counties applied for federal and state aid. A total of $162.6 million was approved for those counties under FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, which can be used to pay for lodging expenses, rental assistance, minimal home repairs and other needs related to the hurricane. Residents of 24 additional Florida counties also were eligible for grants and loans for Ivan, adding just over $1.3 million to the Ivan total for individual assistance.
To date, FEMA has obligated nearly $348 million in Public Assistance (infrastructure) grants to reimburse local governments and the state for emergency measures and permanent repairs to Florida’s 15 westernmost counties hit by Ivan. In all, 25 counties had some eligibility for Public Assistance reimbursement for emergency work after Ivan. The 10 counties beyond the Panhandle account for an additional $464,000.
“We still have projects to fund as communities complete the work needed to undo disaster damage,” Morris said. “FEMA will be in the state for as long as it takes.”
Another component of the nearly $1.5 billion Ivan recovery figure includes more than $377 million for emergency measures, such as water, food, ice and medical teams needed when the hurricane hit.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to homeowners, renters and businesses that sustained uninsured or underinsured damage or loss because of the disasters are also taken into account. For Ivan, loans total more than $603 million.
Flooding was more of an issue for Hurricane Ivan than it was for Charley, Frances or Jeanne, as reflected in the amount paid by the National Flood Insurance Program to Florida residents covered by flood insurance. Nearly $869 million went to pay more than 9,800 claims for Ivan, compared to a total of $280 million for the other three 2004 hurricanes combined.
FEMA and Florida housing advisors continue to help Floridians find permanent housing solutions for families displaced by the 2004 hurricanes. Currently, 7,669 FEMA housing units are occupied statewide – down from a high of more than 16,000 – as families continue to move out of FEMA mobile-home group sites on the east and west coasts and in the Panhandle. In some cases, occupants may qualify to purchase the mobile homes. Travel trailers, typically parked on private property while homeowners complete repairs, are being returned to inventory.
Statewide, after the four 2004 hurricanes, more than 1.2 million households applied for federal and state assistance through FEMA’s registration system...