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FEMA, Partners Helping Hurricane Michael Survivors

Release date: 
October 17, 2018
Release Number: 
HQ-18-161

WASHINGTON – One week after Hurricane Michael hit Florida and Georgia, FEMA and other federal agencies are working alongside state and local responders and volunteers from national and local nonprofit organizations to aid survivors.

News and Resources for Survivors        

FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are on the ground in Florida and Georgia helping survivors register for assistance. Survivors can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov, at a shelter or by calling 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). FEMA will contact all registered survivors to let them know if they are eligible for assistance. FEMA is not writing checks to survivors at any location.

So far, more than 48,000 people in Florida and 9,000 in Georgia have contacted FEMA for information about disaster assistance. While FEMA cannot make Michael survivors whole, FEMA can provide assistance that helps them begin the recovery process. FEMA is not writing checks to survivors at any location.

Some survivors may receive an application for a low-interest disaster loan from the U. S. Small Business Administration. Survivors who receive an application should complete those applications as they may lead to other forms of assistance. SBA applications can also be done online.

Distribution sites are providing meals, water and other items in areas where stores are not open, or where supplies are limited. 

  • More than 281,000 meals have been provided to Florida survivors; residents can find information about food and water locations by visiting FloridaDisaster.org.
  • Information on locations in Georgia can be found on the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security agency website.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael.

  • To file a Disaster Unemployment Assistance claim, go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920.

National Dislocated Worker Grant funding is available to help Florida assess its workforce needs due to significant job losses caused by Hurricane Michael. This funding assists the state and local governments to expand service capacity of dislocated worker training and employment programs.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients in Florida will be allowed to purchase hot foods temporarily thanks to a waiver from USDA. USDA also launched a disaster assistance discovery tool through Farmers.gov to provide information to farmers about disaster assistance programs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Disaster Distress Helpline is available to help survivors cope with stress. To speak with a trained crisis counselor, call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (for Spanish, press 2 or text Hablanos to 66746).

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has activated the National Pharmaceutical Pharmacy Disaster Network Plan. Veterans impacted by Hurricane Michael who require an emergency supply of medications can access retail pharmacies. Call 1-855-574-7288 for more information.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are implementing the Operation Blue Roof program today and will be starting right of entry collection in Bay County, Florida.

The Internal Revenue Service granted an extension of the Oct. 15 and other filing deadlines to people who were affected by Hurricane Michael. Survivors in parts of Florida and elsewhere have until Feb. 28, 2019, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments.

The American Red Cross has shelters open in Georgia and Florida where survivors can get a hot meal, take a shower, charge phones and find out about different forms of disaster assistance. There is space available in the shelters for people who need to stay overnight, but survivors do not have to stay in a shelter to take advantage of these services.

In addition to the American Red Cross, numerous faith-based, voluntary, and non-governmental agencies and the private sector are working to reach every survivor who needs help.

  • The Salvation Army mobile feeding units are offering meals to survivors in Panama City, Apalachicola and Tallahassee, Florida. Since the response to Hurricane Michael began, the Salvation Army has served more than 120,000 meals while also providing emotional and spiritual support to Hurricane Michael survivors.
  • Operation Barbeque Relief has field kitchens in Florida with a total meal capacity of 30,000 meals per day.
  • In Florida, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief disaster kitchens are  producing thousands of meals for survivors every day.
  • In Georgia, Southern Baptists Disaster Relief has one kitchen with a capacity of 15,000 meals per day.
  • Airbnb homes in Georgia and Florida have opened to host displaced survivors for free.
  • Comcast is offering free access to 8,000 XFINITY WiFi hotspots in Tallahassee and the Panhandle. The service is available to customers and non-customers.
  • Verizon has free charging stations in Albany, Georgia, and two charging stations in Marianna and Panama City, Florida. Verizon’s Big Red Command Trailer has multiple workstations and satellite connectivity and is supporting emergency personnel at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center.
  • Verizon’s Big Red Command Trailer has multiple workstations and satellite connectivity and is supporting the Bay County Emergency Operations Center.
  • Voluntary technology professionals at Information Technology Disaster Resource Center are providing free communications support for Albany, Georgia.
  • Datto is working with the Red Cross to provide internet in Florida shelters.
  • Uber is offering free rides to and from shelters. Use the code MICHAELSHELTER to receive free UberX and UberXL trips to and from any official Red Cross Shelter in Florida until October 31, 2018. Residents can travel for up to $25 per trip or up to 5 trips per user.

Advice for residents in Florida and Georgia:

  • Start navigating your recovery process as soon as possible. Return home only if you are told it is safe by local authorities. Contact your insurance company to file a claim.  Photograph/video damages, and then begin cleaning up. 
  • Florida survivors are urged to visit Florida’s Emergency Information page for up-to-date disaster survivor resources including power outages, rumor control, food distribution sites, debris reporting, and a list of open shelters.
  • Survivors in Georgia can learn more about the state response to Hurricane Michael by visiting the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency's website.

 


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Last Updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 15:42