NEW ORLEANS – In the wake of Hurricane Isaac’s recent recovery efforts, Louisiana’s restoration from Hurricane Rita persists, enabled by approximately $1.3 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance, hazard mitigation and individual assistance funding since her landfall on Sept. 24, 2005.
“While Hurricane Katrina and more recently Hurricane Isaac tend to headline Louisiana’s natural disaster timeline, FEMA understands that communities in the southwestern part of the state think of Hurricane Rita when it comes to devastating storms,” said FEMA’s Louisiana Recovery Office Executive Director Joseph Threat. “Just seven years ago, these communities were greatly impacted by Rita’s landfall and are still recovering today.”
FEMA has provided $671.8 million in public assistance grants for Hurricane Rita-related projects in Louisiana, such as debris removal and emergency protective measures and for permanent work to repair or rebuild public facilities damaged by the storm. Of this funding, nearly 50 percent was provided for recovery work in Cameron, Calcasieu and Vermilion parishes.
“The local officials and residents within these communities have worked together, in partnership with the state and FEMA, to rebuild their neighborhoods. Their success stories and recovery accomplishments to date speak to their resiliency and dedication to restoring Louisiana,” added Threat.
In an effort to help prevent future loss of property and to save lives during future disasters, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has made more than $137.9 million in funding available to Louisiana in response to Hurricane Rita. Through this program, FEMA is able to provide traditional HMGP grants, for elevations and acquisitions for example, as well as planning grants to assist eligible applicants in setting short- and long-term mitigation goals.
“The ‘on-the-ground’ recovery efforts from disasters like Hurricane Rita, and more recently Hurricane Isaac, are multifaceted in that residents must first recover before communities can progress toward recovery,” said Threat. “That’s why helping individuals affected by disasters remains at the core of FEMA’s recovery mission.”
To aid Louisiana’s residents following Hurricane Rita, FEMA provided approximately $523.5 million in Individuals and Households Program grants to 177,622 individuals and families statewide. These dollars were used as housing assistance for rent, repairs and replacement housing, as well as other needs assistance for such things as furniture, clothing and replacement vehicles.
Editors: For more information about Louisiana’s ongoing recovery efforts, visit FEMA’s website dedicated to the seventh anniversary of hurricanes Katrina and Rita: www.fema.gov/la7year . For more information on Louisiana disaster recovery, visit www.fema.gov/latro.
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When FEMA approves projects through its supplemental Public Assistance grant, the funds are made available to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, who disburses them to the applicant for eligible work completed.
The Public Assistance program works with state and local officials to fund recovery measures and the rebuilding of government and certain private nonprofit organizations’ buildings, as well as roads, bridges and water and sewer plants. In order for the process to be successful, federal, state and local partners coordinate to draw up project plans, fund these projects and oversee their completion.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.