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USA: FEMA Monthy Update: The End Of The Year Doesn't Mean The End Of Hurricane Katrina Recovery

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Release Date: December 30, 2010

Release Number: 1604-750

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BILOXI, Miss. -- This year is almost over, and it's been more than five years since Hurricane Katrina left widespread destruction along the Mississippi Coast but rebuilding and recovery will continue in 2011.

The state has rebuilt stronger with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). The improvements can be seen in emergency operations centers where updated communication systems replace older models. New schools include state-of-the-art emergency shelters, and reconstructed public buildings and utilities are strengthened against high winds and flooding.

With the help of federal and state funds, homeowners are elevating and fortifying their homes to protect them against severe storms. And unlike in 2005, more people today have flood insurance.

The recovery mission is ongoing but what is completed shows Mississippi will be more prepared for and less vulnerable to future storms than it was in 2005.

Following is a summary of both FEMA individual and public assistance provided to Mississippi recovery efforts from Aug. 29, 2005 through Dec. 24, 2010:

Assisting Individuals and Families

- FEMA has provided more than $1.3 billion to help families and individuals meet some of their basic needs following Katrina. More than 44,000 families received temporary housing assistance.

- As of Dec. 24, 2010, 107 temporary housing units remained occupied in Mississippi - more than 99 percent of the families who once occupied FEMA temporary housing units have moved into their repaired or rebuilt homes or into more permanent housing.

- More than 126,000 families in Mississippi have received rental assistance funds.

2,830 Mississippi families moved from FEMA temporary housing to Mississippi Cottages and 396 cottages are currently occupied. The Mississippi Cottages were provided through the Mississippi Alternative Housing Program, which is administered by MEMA and funded by a $280 million federal grant. The temporary housing portion of the program ended Jan. 31 2009. However, 335 units are being converted for permanent use to residents who remain in need. For more information about the program, visit www.mscottage.org.

Rebuilding Mississippi Infrastructure

- Nearly 900 state and local governments have applied for FEMA Public Assistance.(PA).

- More than $3 billion in FEMA Public Assistance funds has been obligated to rebuild infrastructure in Mississippi. Some of this grant money includes:

- $680 million for the restoration of public buildings;

- $906 million for public utilities;

- More than $188 million for public recreational facilities;

- Almost $91 million for roads and bridges

MEMA administers PA funds. To date, MEMA has disbursed more than $2.2 billion to Hurricane Katrina PA applicants for debris removal and rebuilding projects including bridges, public buildings and utilities.

Preparing for future disasters today

- FEMA has obligated more than $216 million for 315 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) projects across the state.

- More than $138 million (includes hardening, 361 shelters, multi-purpose use shelters) was approved to protect approximately 33,613 residents and first responders - with more on the way.

- A total of $293 million has been allocated for HMGP in Mississippi. Communities throughout the state are more prepared than ever for future disasters as 284 jurisdictions now have MEMA/FEMA approved hazard mitigation plans - up from only seven approved plans before Katrina.

- More than $2.8 billion in National Flood Insurance Program claims has been paid to Mississippi policy holders since Katrina with 98.99 percent of claims closed out. Mississippians have learned the importance of flood insurance as the number of policies in the state has increased from 46,982 before the storm to the current level of 76,494.

- MEMA manages the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program in Mississippi; it identifies projects and oversees them from beginning to closeout.

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.