A month after Hurricane Ian made landfall, Florida is undergoing one of the largest disaster recovery missions in recent history.
The Category 4 storm, with winds of 150 mph and a storm surge of 15 feet, made landfall on September 28 near Cayo Costa, Florida, causing destruction that stretched from the southwest coast through the central part of the state to the northeast coast before entering the Atlantic.
It was the fourth largest storm to hit Florida, knocking out power to 2.7 million people, destroying homes and businesses, knocking out water systems and leaving piles of debris everywhere.
In 30 days, FEMA and its federal partners provided $1.56 billion in grants, disaster loans and flood insurance payments to state and Florida households. The work is just beginning. More than 2,400 federal employees work in Florida. The private sector, voluntary agencies and religious organizations are fully involved.
“Even for a state that is no stranger to hurricanes,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Tom McCool, “it was huge. For our partners at the state, local and federal levels, this has presented challenges not seen in many years.
“We are committed to helping people get a safe roof over their heads as quickly as possible. We work with the state to provide immediate temporary solutions – including hotels, rental assistance and other tools. Our goal is to meet the immediate need for shelter, give survivors a jump-start on their recovery, and bridge the gap between today and long-term solutions.”
In Lee, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, and Sarasota counties, FEMA provides direct temporary housing assistance that includes travel trailers and manufactured homes for eligible survivors, in addition to direct rental housing and repairs for multifamily buildings that FEMA can lease. survivor.
The State of Florida and FEMA activated the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program for Hurricane Ian to temporarily house eligible survivors in hotels. FEMA this week expanded the program to all 26 counties eligible for individual assistance.
“We continue to work closely with our federal and local partners to find innovative ways to cut through the red tape and quickly and efficiently provide resources to communities affected by Hurricane Ian,” said Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM). “I look forward to our continued partnership and working to ensure that families and businesses are impacted by the recovery process.”
As of Oct. 28, FEMA has provided $661.6 million to households for housing and other needs and $322 million to the state for emergency response. The US Small Business Administration provided $356.6 million in disaster relief and the National Flood Insurance Program paid out $223 million in claims, including advances.
Working closely with FDEM, FEMA coordinated the multi-agency federal response.
On September 25, four days before the storm made landfall, FEMA Region 4 in Atlanta activated the Regional Response Coordination Center to monitor the storm and put personnel, equipment and supplies in place before landfall. The center activated all emergency support functions, the Department of Defense and the US Coast Guard.
FEMA staggered generators for rapid deployment to critical facilities such as hospitals. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked with the state to support the restoration of water services.
FEMA provided 11 million liters of water, 6.8 million meals, sheets, blankets, cots, medical equipment and other commodities, which the state distributed as needed.
Eleven FEMA Urban Search & Rescue teams worked with state teams to conduct post-storm operations. The teams checked more than 86,000 structures in the search process.
FEMA has contracted 300 ambulances to supplement state and local units. The Department of Health and Human Services deployed seven disaster medical response teams that treated more than 3,700 patients over three weeks.
USACE installed more than 14,940 blue roofs at no cost to homeowners affected by Hurricane Ian in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto and Sarasota counties.
FEMA has deployed more than 450 disaster relief specialists who go door-to-door to help people apply for FEMA assistance. The teams interacted with more than 67,000 individuals.
FEMA home inspectors have conducted more than 170,000 inspections to assist in the processing of applications for assistance.
The application deadline is November 28. To apply for FEMA assistance, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, download the FEMA mobile app or call toll-free at 800-621-3362. The line is open daily from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM ET. Help is available in most languages. To view an accessible video on how to apply, visit Three Ways to Apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance – YouTube.
Recovery will be a long process and FEMA will work closely with the state to ensure Florida’s requirements are met. A joint state/federal office has been established in the Tampa area to coordinate recovery operations. FEMA Interagency Recovery Coordination works with several federal agencies to identify priority recovery needs.
For the latest information on Florida’s recovery from Hurricane Ian, visit floridadisaster.org/info and fema.gov/disaster/4673. Follow FEMA on Twitter at FEMA Region 4 (@femaregion4) / Twitter and at facebook.com/fema.