Coastal News

An Immense Job, a Robust Effort After Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian was an equal opportunity destroyer in Florida.

The Category 4 storm that made landfall in southwest Florida Sept. 28, 2022, was the third costliest tropical cyclone in U.S. history, the fourth largest storm to strike Florida and the worst crisis that thousands of Floridians have ever faced. Nearly six months later, it has resulted in one of the largest federal disaster response and recovery efforts in FEMA history.

Federal support as of March 6 totals $6.6 billion. FEMA Individual Assistance has provided $1.04 billion in financial help to 383,081 households in 26 counties. The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $1.73 billion in disaster loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses. The National Flood Insurance Program has received 46,400 claims and paid $3.2 billion. FEMA Public Assistance has obligated $636.8 million to reimburse state and local jurisdictions for emergency response and debris removal expenses.

Damage from Hurricane Ian is estimated at $112.9 billion, including insured and uninsured losses, making it the third costliest cyclone to strike the United States, after Katrina and Harvey, according to NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

“Hurricane Ian recovery is one of the largest operations the Federal Emergency Management Agency has undertaken,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Tom McCool. “We are working closely with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) and will be on the job as long as it takes. More than 1,400 federal employees are in Florida today. This operation is locally executed, state managed and federally supported. The private sector, nonprofit organizations and the faith-based community all are active participants in helping these communities recover.”

“The Florida Division of Emergency Management remains committed to working with our local, state and federal partners to navigate the ongoing recovery process in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “I want to thank my team as they continue to work diligently in our State Emergency Operations Center and on the ground in impacted communities.”

FEMA has provided rental assistance and funds for basic home repair for 73,532 households. More than 4,500 families have been provided temporary hotel stays while they look for longer-term housing, and most have found other lodging. As of March 6, 530 households have been given the keys to FEMA temporary housing, including travel trailers, manufactured housing units or apartment homes leased by FEMA for hurricane survivors. More homes are being prepared for occupancy.

The state of Florida is providing non-congregate sheltering in travel trailers with FEMA funding supporting that initiative. As of March 6, 354 households occupy state trailers. The state has allocated $150 million to Florida Housing Finance Corporation to assist families impacted by the disaster and is providing other support to survivors.

Debris removal in the hardest-hit areas was expedited when FEMA allowed for waivers in the application process by some local jurisdictions, saving as much as six months in the debris removal process.

To speed assessment of damage and inspection of applicants’ homes, FEMA used geospatial information systems and other technology in response and recovery operations.

FEMA operated 57 Disaster Recovery Centers in affected areas with 138,000 visits. FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams visited 354,615 homes. SBA operated six Business Recovery Centers and two Loan Closing Centers.

Voluntary organizations have been active since the storm made landfall. More than 540 organizations have helped survivors with cleanup, financial and housing support, mental health and other types of support.

From the beginning, FEMA activated a robust Interagency Recovery Coordination mission, which brings resources from multiple federal agencies to support state and local recovery needs.


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