HURRICANE IKE SIX MONTHS LATER

Hurricane Ike hit the upper Texas Gulf Coast at 2:10 a.m. on Sept. 13, 2008. Nearly six months into the response and recovery effort, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work vigorously in support of the state of Texas and individual Texans.

Along the way, FEMA and its partners have reached many important milestones. Debris clean-up in eligible areas is 95 percent complete, the direct housing mission is 97 percent complete and inspections of damaged homes are 99.9 percent complete. More importantly, more than $1.74 billion in federal and state financial assistance has poured into the states disaster-designated counties.

Following is a quick look at the numbers (as of March 9) associated with Hurricane Ike in the nearly six months since the storm made landfall.

1

Hurricane Ike was the No. 1 natural disaster in Texas in 2008.

2

Ike made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane. Its maximum winds of 110 mph barely missed making Ike a Category 3 storm. Wind gusts hit 125 mph.

12

FEMA specialists in the field have offered assistance in more than a dozen languages and dialects, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and American Sign Language.

17

According to National Weather Service estimates, the highest storm surge caused by Hurricane Ike reached 17 feet and possibly 20 feet in some areas.

37

FEMA has responded to 37 disasters nationwide in just the six months since Hurricane Ike struck.

50+1

A total of 50 Texas counties and one tribal nation (Alabama-Coushatta) are eligible for Public Assistance as a result of the presidential disaster declaration. Thirty-four counties and the tribal nation are eligible for Individual Assistance.

74

As a result of Hurricane Ike, 74 people lost their lives in Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

78

On Nov. 15, 2008, 78 Texas households moved into FEMA manufactured homes in one day. Today, more than 3,500 households are in temporary housing units, and the direct housing mission is 97 percent complete.

89

State, volunteer and federal resources opened 89 points of distribution throughout the disaster area to provide meals, water, ice and other essential commodities.

100

The federal government has agreed to fund 100 percent of eligible debris removal until April 26, 2009. To date, nearly 20.1 million cubic yards of debris have been removed from eligible areas affected by the disaster. Thats a debris pile as big as a football field and nearly eight times the height of the Empire State Building.

100

The federal government has agreed to fund 100 percent of eligible debris removal until April 26, 2009. To date, nearly 20.1 million cubic yards of debris have been removed from eligible areas affected by the disaster. Thats a debris pile as big as a football field and nearly eight times the height of the Empire State Building.

130

FEMA has operated more than 130 Disaster Recovery Centers, assisting nearly 158,000 people, throughout the affected area.

500

Ike was a massive hurricane when it hit Texas. The storm system was more than 500 miles wide, including a band of hurricane-force winds about 165 miles wide. Ikes eye alone was about 46 miles wide.

3,540

Search and rescue teams coordinated by the Texas Governors Division of Emergency Management rescued more than 3,540 Texans and helped an additional 5,798 people evacuate from extremely dangerous situations.

9,500

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than 9,500 low-interest disaster loans to businesses, individuals and private nonprofit organizations.

26,244

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers installed 26,244 Blue Roofs on residences hit by Hurricane Ike following the disaster.

35,000

Nearly 35,000 Texans have been assisted under the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program. The program has paid nearly $93 million for the hotel stays of Ike victims who had no housing alternative.

42,000

The counties designated for assistance in the presidentially declared disaster area cover nearly 42,000 square miles. That is almost the size of the entire state of Tennessee.

86,500

FEMAs Hazard Mitigation Community Education and Outreach Group has handed out more than 86,500 FEMA publications, including some in multiple languages, at home improvement stores, community centers and elsewhere.

400,000

More than 400,000 housing inspections have been completed. Thats 99.9 percent of the inspection orders issued.

734,000

More than 734,000 individuals and families registered with FEMA in the months following the disaster.

6.4 Million

FEMA has provided more than $6.4 million in Disaster Unemployment Assistance to individuals who have been unable to work because of the disaster. The program helps people not normally covered by unemployment insurance.

10 Million

Federal and state assistance to the Hurricane Ike recovery effort has averaged nearly $10 million per day since Day One of the disaster.

17 Million

During the early days of the disaster FEMA and the state of Texas delivered more than 17 million meals and 16 million liters of water to points of distribution throughout the affected areas.

114 Million

More than $114 million has been disbursed to help meet serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance and other aid programs. The Other Needs Assistance program provides funding for personal property, moving and storage, transportation, medical expenses and burial costs.

355 Million

A total of $355 million is expected to be set aside for the Hurricane Ike Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Already approved through the states fast-track HMGP program is a $6.9 million grant for the acquisition of 57 flood-prone homes in Jefferson County.

394 Million

More than $394 million is in the hands of eligible applicants affected by Hurricane Ike for temporary housing assistance and home repairs.

555 Million

FEMA has obligated more than $555 million in Public Assistance funds for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairs of roads and bridges, public buildings and utilities, recreational areas and other public infrastructure.

578 Million

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $578 million in low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations.

1.74 Billion

In just the six months since Hurricane Ike struck, more than $1.74 billion has been approved to help Texas residents, businesses and communities that suffered loss or damage in the storm. Thats 1.74 BILLION DOLLARS!

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMAs temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

The SBA is the federal governments primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations fund repair or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 1-800-659-2955, or TTY 1-800-877-8339.

FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.

The response and recovery operation in Texas, just prior to and following the onslaught of Hurricane Ike, gave the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its partners an opportunity to use new, creative ideas, test pilot projects, launch innovative housing initiatives and offer program adjustments and extensions.

FIRSTS

  • Deaf Link. FEMA used special communications equipment at a FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Center to help applicants with hearing impairments apply for disaster assistance. The first recovery center to use this technology called Deaf Link was in Houston at the Ellington Joint Reserve Base.
  • Alternate Manufactured Housing. Some Texans displaced from their homes as a result of Hurricane Ike were the first to occupy a new type of manufactured home built especially for FEMA under a new initiative. The new models, which have two bedrooms, one bathroom and about 616 square feet of living space, are sleeker than the mobile homes and larger than the park models. More important, these homes are made with products that emit no or low amounts of formaldehyde.
  • Rental Repair Pilot Program. This pilot program was launched in Texas for the first time after Hurricane Ike. Under the program, FEMA worked with a landlord to fund the cost of repairing 32 units in a hurricane-damaged Galveston complex for use by displaced Texans.
  • Combination of Recovery Centers. More than 130 Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) (mobile and stationary) and Mobile Registration Intake Centers (MRIC) were opened in the hurricane-impacted areas. The MRICs provided disaster victims with a place to go to use phones or computers to register with FEMA. The DRCs provided face-to-face assistance at stationary locations or on buses that traveled to the affected areas.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • While Texans were evacuating, FEMA launched its Transitional Sheltering Assistance(TSA) program for temporary stays in hotels. Nearly 35,000 Texans were assisted under the TSA initiative.
  • A Texas Joint Housing Solutions Task Force was created almost immediately after the storm to look at housing options and solutions for victims.
  • Housing inspectors began assessing damages resulting from Ike just 24 hours after the storm.
  • In less than a week the first four Disaster Recovery Centers opened to provide direct assistance to Hurricane Ike victims.
  • During the first week after the storm, FEMA Individual Assistance specialists started working with the state of Texas to confirm the locations of mobile home parks in the region.
  • By the second week after the storm hit, FEMA installed the first of more than 3,500 manufactured homes in private, commercial and community parks for displaced Texans.
  • Ten days after the hurricane, FEMA signed an interagency agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP-Ike) for eligible applicants.
  • New media technology was fully used. Social networks such as Twitter and YouTube were used to share information, along with field-produced webisodes and downloadable radio clips.
  • More than 100 FEMA Community Relations specialists were on hand before the storm hit - including speakers of Spanish, Korean, Lation and Vietnamese - supporting shelter operations by tracking needs and relaying information to state officials.

MEETING CONTINUING NEEDS

  • Texas received several cost-share adjustments for debris removal. In the end, the state was granted 100 percent debris removal reimbursement from Sept. 13, 2008, to April 26, 2009.
  • The Transitional Sheltering Assistance initiative was extended three times. It was scheduled to end after just one month, but was extended until March 13, 2009.
  • The Fema Registration period was extended 4 times. The usual 60 day period lasted 5 months.

Information contributed by Kristin Barrs, Congressman Poe's District Director