Federal disaster assistance for Hurricane Ian recovery tops $1B – Florida Politics

FEMA: Individual assistance to Hurricane Ian victims tops the amount counted one year after Hurricane Michael.

Twenty-two days since Hurricane Ian hit the Gulf Coast and forged a path of destruction across the state, the amount of federal recovery aid distributed to the state blew past the $1 billion mark.

The speed of the aid’s distribution appears to be outpacing — and by some measures overtaking — the federal aid that followed Hurricane Michael’s 2018 landfall.

So far, the amount of individual assistance given to individuals in 26 counties is at $545 million and counting, compared to the $319 million in individual assistance that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported distributed one year after Hurricane Michael, which was the most recent major hurricane to hit the state.

By contrast, individuals in just 12 counties were eligible for individual assistance after Michael.

It took five months for federal aid after Hurricane Michael to approach the $1 billion mark, according to a FEMA news release.

So far, FEMA has sent the state $302 million for emergency response and recovery. Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration has provided $130 million in disaster loans, while the National Flood Insurance Program has paid $98 million in claims, according to a news release.

Other aspects of FEMA’s response to Hurricane Ian by the numbers:

— 1,733 households with a total of 4,416 members are being provided emergency shelter, with FEMA making payments directly to participating hotels and motels.

— More than 40,000 flood insurance claims have been received through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.

— Two Lee County public shelters remain open, housing 476 people, the New York Times reports.

— 15 FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers have been opened in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Lake, Lee (two locations), Orange, Osceola, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, and Volusia counties, and additional locations will be updated at FloridaDisaster.org.

— 117,000 home inspections have been done by FEMA inspectors.

— 5,834 roofs have been installed via Operation Blue Roof in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Lee and Sarasota County. One year after Hurricane Michael, 7,800 blue roofs had been installed through the same program.

In terms of federal help, Hurricane Ian has a long way to go to match the costliest storms according to FEMA aid.

Not quite a year after the 2017 hurricane season, FEMA issued a report that $21.2 billion had been obligated toward ameliorating the impact of hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma. A FEMA news release from August said that Florida’s federal help for Hurricane Irma recovery totaled $5.58 billion in federal assistance that went to households and communities, low-interest disaster loans and flood insurance payments.

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