USA: Progress made - A 6-month update on Hurricane relief, recovery and rebuilding

Situation Report
Originally published


Today marks the 6-month point since Hurricane Katrina hit landfall. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were two of the most intense hurricanes ever recorded during the Atlantic Hurricane. The storm had a massive impact on the physical landscape, her people as well as on the region s economy. Approximately 90,000 square miles were hit by the storm roughly the size of Great Britain directly affecting 1.5 million people. Commercial infrastructure was heavily damaged, with ports of which one-quarter of all U.S. imports and exports pass through closed after sustaining damage. Airports, railroads, bridges, warehouses, wharves, offshore facilities, roads, schools and hospitals were also closed after getting hit.

More than 16,000 federal personnel have been deployed to help state and local officials along the Gulf Coast recover from the damage. Some $88 billion in federal aid has been allocated for relief, recovery and rebuilding, with another $20 billion requested, to help victims of storm and the region recover and rebuild.

President Bush continues to follow through with the Federal commitment to do what it takes to help residents of the Gulf Coast rebuild their lives in the wake of the disaster. Below is a list of tangible results Federal agencies have accomplished to help get the region on the road to a complete recovery, providing an opportunity for a stronger and better future for the residents of the Gulf Coast.

Rebuilding Lives and Communities

Providing Immediate Recovery and Relief:

Rescue needs

The Coast Guard rescued 33,000 people -- six times higher than the number of rescues in all of 2004.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinated the rescue of more than 6,500 people and for the first time deployed all 28 of its Urban Search and Rescue teams for a single event

- The combined rescues performed by these two agencies total almost 40,000 -- more than seven times the number of people rescued during the Florida hurricanes in 2004

- DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency performed over 1,428 missions, which included 672 law enforcement, 128 search and rescue, 78 recovery, 444 hurricane relief, and 97 other logistical support missions. During operations, CBP saved over 328 lives; provided food, water and other supplies to thousands of people impacted by the hurricanes; and donated well over $20 million dollars in seized goods and humanitarian aid

- DHS Transportation Security Administration (TSA) flew in hundreds of air passenger screeners and federal air marshals to supply ad hoc security during the massive airlift of storm evacuees from New Orleans. TSA processed thousands of evacuees. More than 22,000 people were flown out of New Orleans on military and civilian aircraft; in a single day at the Houston airports, more than 50,000 passengers were screened -- nearly double the traffic on previous peak days

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) helped to rescue and shelter more than 14,000 companion animals and livestock in region

Within the first six days of the response, the Federal government delivered more than 28 million pounds of ice, 20 million pounds of commodities (such as fruits, juices, vegetables, meats and grains), 8.5 million ready-to-eat meals, and 4 million gallons of water. This exceeds the combined totals for the entire recovery operation during Hurricane Andrew

- Through USDA's various feeding programs and in partnership with many faith-based and community organizations, over 20 million pounds of food were delivered and served to displaced residents, including almost 2 million pounds of baby food

- Nearly 1.9 million households were signed up to receive close to $900 million in USDA food stamps

Shelter and other immediate needs

More than 700,000 households have received apartment rental assistance under FEMA s Individuals and Households Assistance Program ($1.7 billion committed)

More than 84,000 travel trailers and mobile homes are serving as temporary homes for Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims -- triple the number of units used following all of last year s Florida hurricanes and far outnumbering any housing mission in FEMA s history. More manufactured homes are being moved into the Gulf to support housing needs

FEMA paid more than $560 million for hotel and motel rooms to provide hotel and motel rooms to thousands of households affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita who were in need of short-term homes. The program peaked at 85,000 rooms booked on one night nationwide with many more thousands of households helped by the program as they transitioned to longer term living solutions

Over 10,000 displaced residents were placed in housing across the country primarily near the hurricane region by the USDA

180,000 damaged roofs have been covered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under FEMA s Blue Roof program, allowing families to remain in their homes as rebuilding occurs

In addition, FEMA has provided more than $6.3 billion directly to hurricane victims for financial and housing assistance through the Individuals and Households Assistance Program (IHP), an amount that more than doubles the combined total of IHP dollars given for six major U.S. natural disasters occurring since 1992 o More than $14.6 billion has been paid out to National Flood Insurance Program policyholders o More than 1.8 million housing inspections have been completed in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas

Clean-up and other essential services

74 percent of the debris caused by the storms has been cleared by FEMA in Mississippi; 54 percent in Louisiana. A total of 78 million cubic yards of debris have been removed from the Coast overtaking the amount of debris from the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Andrew combined -- by 20 million cubic yards

FEMA has approved $585 million in Community Disaster Loans for municipalities in Louisiana and Mississippi to help local authorities maintain essential services such as law enforcement, schools and fire services

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