Hurricane Ivan relief exceeds #036;100 million

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Three weeks after Hurricane Ivan hit Alabama, more than 96,000 residents have registered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for help in recovering from the storm. Combined disaster assistance to Alabamians now exceeds $100 million.

FEMA Public Information Officer Jeannie Mooney said Alabama has been approved for a large amount of relief from Hurricane Ivan.

"The total dollar amount of approved funds for Alabama is $101.3 million," said Mooney. "So far we have had 111,577 requests in the state."

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Butler County Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams said the commission and FEMA have been working together closely throughout the recovery period.

"The person I have been in contact with is Jim Landry," said McWilliams. "We have had a lot of people call in with questions and I have referred them to him. He has been very helpful."

McWilliams said FEMA has also been a big help in that if there is a service they do not offer they can recommend someone who does.

"There are a lot of different agencies that FEMA knows about," said McWilliams.

"Just because FEMA doesn't have a certain item does not mean they will not refer us in the direction of someone who does. I have been in contact with them daily for the last week."

McWilliams added the two have been able to work together very well to get things done.

"FEMA has been very cooperatative with us," said McWilliams. "They have really done a good job of keeping us informed."

Disaster housing assistance helps renters and homeowners whose primary residences were damaged or destroyed to obtain temporary housing or perform minor repairs to their homes in order to make their residences habitable.

Mooney said funds have been approved for many other needs as well.

"There has been $59.4 million in disaster housing," said Mooney. "Also, $41.9 million has been approved for other needs."

Assistance to Individuals and Household

Individuals can begin the disaster application process by calling the toll-free registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. If possible, try calling in the evening after 6:00 p.m. or on weekends when call volume often is lighter. Individuals can also find valuable recovery information on the agency's website at

To date, 65 counties have been approved for Individual Assistance under the September 15 presidential disaster declaration issued in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.

Alabamians have received $83.5 million in disaster aid to individuals and households.

To date, 31,963 applicants have received more than $49.5 million in aid. More than 21,000 applicants have received $34 million to help meet other essential disaster-related needs such as medical expenses, transportation needs and personal property not covered by insurance or other aid programs.

To date, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved 64 disaster loans from homeowners, renters and businesses for $1.6 million. Low-interest SBA disaster loans are the primary source of assistance for long-term recovery.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is now available for Alabamians who are out of work as a direct result of the disaster, and who would not be eligible for regular unemployment compensation, such as the self-employed. Call the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations at 1-866-234-5382. To date, 678 claims have been approved and $131,481 has been disbursed.

FEMA has approved a $393,963 grant to the Alabama Department of Mental Health to help those affected by Hurricane Ivan cope with the emotional stress resulting from the disaster. For more information, call 1-800-367-0955.

The Alabama Department of Human Resources, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has extended food stamp benefits to households in 24 counties. To date, more than $13 million in food stamps have been issued to 59,466 households to replace food that was spoiled due to power loss. In addition, 9,451 households that were not previously eligible for food stamps have received $3.36 million in emergency food stamp benefits.

All Disaster Recovery Centers will be closed Monday, Oct. 11 in observance of Columbus Day. To date, more than 18,000 have visited DRCs in affected areas.

Approximately 140 FEMA/State Community Relations personnel are in the field providing outreach information in storm-damaged communities. Multilingual translators are assisting with victims' language needs.

FEMA and the state of Alabama are in the process of implementing a disaster-housing plan that includes using travel trailers for alternate housing. Travel trailers are the option of last resort, used only when other housing resources are unavailable. Currently, 50 travel trailers are pre-positioned in Alabama, and seven units have been placed on site for occupancy.

Federal disaster assistance is available for farmers or ranchers whose homes and personal property were damage by Hurricane Ivan by calling the FEMA toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

Agricultural loans up to $500,000 may be available to farmers, ranchers and landowners to cover production, property losses and physical structures part of farming operations. Contact the local Farm Service Agency for details.

More Recovery News

Disaster Help Alabama is coordinating volunteer recovery services for hurricane victims. If you would like to donate goods or services or if you have unmet disaster-related needs, call 877- 824-9826, or visit

Disaster Help Alabama is providing volunteer assistance to the elderly and those who need help making minor roof repairs using "self-help" tarps as a temporary fix.

State and local governments and certain private non-profits in 46 counties are eligible for Public Assistance reimbursement on a cost-share basis for debris removal, emergency protective measures taken to respond to the storm and additional categories of funding to repair or restore public infrastructure damaged by the hurricane.

Disaster legal services are now available for victims of Hurricane Ivan through the Alabama Legal Hotline at 1-800-354-6154. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-noon; and 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

Disaster officials are advising residents whose home and businesses were affected by Hurricane Ivan to be on the lookout for harmful mold. Contact your county health department for further information or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at 1-800-438-4318.

For more information on Hurricane Ivan disaster recovery, visit FEMA’s website at and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) disaster website at

SBA is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries.