Friday, July 11, 2014

Full Update Press Release from FEMA

The following is a Two Month Report and Infographic of FEMA and MEMA involvement after the April 28 disaster in Winston County and across Mississippi. It is provided here in its entirety.

July 7, 2014 FEMA-4175-DR Two-Month Recovery Update
Two months later, Mississippi Tornado Recovery on Target
Approximately two months after tornadoes swept across Mississippi on April 28, MEMA and FEMA are working closely with local, state,federal, voluntary and private sector partners to help survivors andcommunities recover and rebuild.
The Individual Assistance registration period has ended. More than 5,300 people contacted FEMA for help or information, right on target
with estimates resulting from MEMA/FEMA joint preliminary damage assessments conducted immediately after the disaster.
All MEMA/FEMA disaster recovery centers and SBA disaster loan outreach centers are closed. MEMA and FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance crews have completed their mission of reaching out to survivors in affected communities. Public Assistance kickoff meetings with local governments and certain private nonprofits are complete. About 90 percent of eligible debris removal has been completed.
More than $19 million in total state and federal assistance has been approved for survivors. That includes $5.4 in Individual Assistance grants approved. 22 households are living in temporary housing units while they repair or rebuild their homes. MEMA and FEMA are working with additional survivor households who may be eligible but are currently staying with friends and family. More than 600 households have received rental assistance through FEMA’s Individual Assistance grant program. SBA has approved more than $13.6 million in low-interest disaster loans for more than 200 homeowners, renters and businesses.
During the 60-day registration period ending June 30, 2014, FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance crews visited 12,000 homes and interacted with more than 9,000 disaster survivors, helping them register with FEMA and making referrals to other agencies and resources for specific needs outside of FEMA, such as American Red Cross, Disaster Unemployment and Disaster Legal Aid. More than 4,700 disaster survivors visited the 10 disaster
recovery centers established throughout the disaster-designated counties. Individual Assistance staff reached out a second time to
the approximately 5,300 people who contacted FEMA to ask about disaster assistance. The “100 percent touch” initiative is making sure registrants understand the application process and submit timely documentation. This effort has resulted in approximately $2.5 million in additional grant money approved for individuals and households in Mississippi.


FEMA mitigation representatives have met with more than 8,000 people at disaster recovery centers and home improvement and hardware stores throughout the state, providing advice on how to rebuild safer and stronger. Three teams will be at locations in or near the disaster areas until mid-July.


While the deadline for individuals and households to register for federal disaster assistance has passed, FEMA remains in Mississippi and will continue working alongside MEMA until the job is done. Individuals and households can still contact FEMA’s helpline (800-621-3362) for help and information regarding disaster assistance.

KEY INITIATIVES
The two key initiatives over the last 30 days have been debris removal and temporary housing.

Debris Removal

MEMA estimates 90 percent of all eligible storm debris has been collected. Local governments in disaster-designated counties have until July 26, 2014, to pick up all remaining debris eligible for Public Assistance grant program reimbursement. MEMA and FEMA set the July 26 deadline to provide more time for volunteer groups to help survivors move debris to the rights-of-way. Through the Public Assistance program, FEMA is funding 75 percent of the cost to remove and dispose of eligible debris. Thanks to special legislation passed in May and signed by the governor, MEMA is covering the remaining 25 percent non-federal cost share for debris removal in order to help local governments more easily sustain the costs resulting from the disaster.


Temporary housing

Statewide, 767 households were left homeless in the aftermath of the tornadoes and severe storms. To address the housing needs of survivors, MEMA established a joint task force including representatives from Mississippi Development Authority and other state agencies, private sector entities, voluntary agencies, HUD, SBA and FEMA. The priority was and continues to be keeping survivors as close to their homes and communities as possible while their homes are repaired or rebuilt.


MEMA and FEMA identified uninsured or under-insured survivors who could move back into their homes with emergency repairs and have been connecting them with volunteer construction groups who could help clear debris and make those repairs.


Numerous faith-based and other volunteer groups have been and continue working in Mississippi to help survivors clear debris and repair or rebuild their homes. In coordination with the NE Mississippi Community-Based Recovery Committee, a large-scale effort called “8 Days of Hope” will begin July 12, bringing an estimated 3,000 volunteers into affected communities to help clear debris and repair homes.

In Winston County, where rental resources are scarce, a direct housing mission was approved by FEMA to provide temporary housing units to eligible survivors displaced from their homes. To date, 22 households are living in temporary housing units. MEMA and FEMA continue working with other identified potential applicants to provide the temporary units both on a commercial park property in Louisville and private lots throughout the county. Applicants who have a need for a temporary housing unit have until July 30, 2014, to request it from FEMA.

A storm shelter was transported from Joplin, Mo. to the commercial lot in Louisville to provide protection from future storms while survivors live in the temporary units placed there.

Overall, adequate rental housing stock was found to be available in the other 11 counties eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance. The task force determined those counties have sufficient local housing resources that, along with FEMA grants for rental assistance, can meet the needs of survivors.

TIMELINE: April 27 – Gov. Bryant declares state of emergency in anticipation of storms April 28 – Severe storms, tornadoes and flooding sweep across the state April 29 – Gov. Bryant requests initial major disaster declaration April 29 – FEMA Region IV Incident Management Assistance Team deploys to EOC in Pearl April 30 – President declares major disaster for Mississippi April 30 – MEMA and FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance crews on the ground May 3 – First MEMA-FEMA disaster recovery centers open May 6 – Temporary hospital site cleared and mobile hospital transported from NC to Louisville May 6 – Declaration amended to add five counties designated for Individual Assistance May 8 – American Red Cross shelters closed May 11 – Joint Field Office opens in Ridgeland May 12 – Declaration amended to extend Public Assistance for 9 counties May 12 – Tenth and final disaster recovery center opens May 14 – Public Assistance applicant briefings begin May 19 – National Mobile Disaster Hospital opens May 20 – FEMA approves state’s request for direct housing in Winston County May 22 – Response phase ends May 22 – Public Assistance kickoff meetings begin May 23 – Area Field Office opens in Starkville May 23 – Total federal assistance for survivors hits $10 million mark May 27 – First temporary housing unit transported to Winston County May 28 – 30 days since the tornado outbreak May 30 – 30 days since the presidential disaster declaration May 31 – Federal Coordinating Officer extends deadline to request Public Assistance to June 30 June 11 – All disaster recovery centers closed June 12 – SBA disaster loan outreach centers open in Louisville and Tupelo June 18 – All Public Assistance kickoff meetings completed June 30 – Deadline to submit requests for Public Assistance June 30 – Deadline for Individual Assistance registration and SBA disaster loan applications June 30 – SBA disaster loan outreach centers closed June 30 – All Disaster Survivor Assistance crews demobilized July 1 – Total federal assistance for survivors hits $18 million mark July 7 – 22 temporary housing units occupied in Winston County July 26 – Deadline for PA applicants to pick up eligible debris from rights-of-way

CURRENT STATUS:

Individual Assistance counties: Itawamba, Jones, Leake, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Montgomery, Rankin, Simpson, Warren, Wayne and Winston.

Public Assistance counties: Itawamba, Jones, Leake, Lee, Lowndes, Newton, Rankin, Wayne and Winston (emergency work and permanent work) and Madison (emergency work only.)

Total Federal Assistance for survivors

• More than $19 million in total disaster assistance has been approved by FEMA and SBA.

SBA disaster loans for homeowners and renters

• More than $13.6 million in low-interest disaster loans has been approved by SBA for 213 homeowners, renters and businesses in Mississippi.

FEMA Individual Assistance

• More than $5.4 million in FEMA Individual Assistance grants has been approved to help Mississippi disaster survivors recover, including:

More than $4 million approved for housing grants, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs.

More than $1.4 million approved to help cover other essential disaster-related needs such as medical, dental and funeral expenses and lost personal possessions.


• More than 5,300 people have contacted FEMA for help or information.


• Nearly 3,000 (99.7 percent) home inspections completed.


Winston Medical Center

The National Mobile Disaster Hospital opened in Louisville within three weeks of the disaster and is serving the medical needs of Winston County until the Winston Medical Center is repaired/rebuilt and reopened.

Temporary housing units in Winston County

The first FEMA temporary housing unit arrived in Noxapater (Winston County) May 27. As of July 7, 22 households have moved into temporary housing units.

Voluntary Agency Liaisons

MEMA and FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaisons have helped connect unaffiliated spontaneous volunteers groups that are part of the Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster with disaster survivors. VALs have also assisted in making referrals to appropriate agencies and are supporting the NE Mississippi Community-Based Recovery Committee to address unmet needs of survivors in Itawamba and Lee counties and Winston Strong to address survivor needs in Winston County.

Public Assistance

Kickoff meetings with applicants are completed. Projects to repair public infrastructure damaged in the storm are being developed. FEMA reimburses a minimum of 75 percent of eligible disaster-related repairs through its Public Assistance (PA) program administered by the state. At the June 30 deadline for receipt of the official notice to FEMA for PA funding, 53 eligible applicants, including governments and certain private nonprofits such as utilities had signed up for the program. Applicants will work with MEMA and FEMA to be reimbursed for emergency protective measures, debris removal and permanent work such as road and building repairs.

Among the applicants are the City of Louisville, which seeks to rebuild a building leased to a wood products company; and the Winston County Medical Foundation, which lost its Winston Medical Center, nursing home and outpatient clinic to the EF4 tornado that struck the area. The hospital is operating temporarily out of the National Mobile Disaster Hospital, a FEMA-owned facility composed of 27 modular units that arrived in Louisville in early May. MEMA leased another dozen mobile units in Mississippi for use as patient exam rooms.

Mitigation

Part of MEMA and FEMA’s mission is to encourage and use mitigation after a disaster so that Mississippi communities and residents are better prepared for future disasters. The agencies are working with Public Assistance applicants to include mitigation measures when rebuilding public infrastructure. This serves to protect lives and public property. As an added benefit, these measures can also save taxpayer dollars. FEMA officials estimate that every dollar spent on mitigation could save almost four dollars if another disaster hits.

The state’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will also begin kicking into gear in the coming months. Projects are funded 75 percent by FEMA and administered by MEMA. Total federal grant money available is based on a percentage of the combined amount of approved Individual Assistance and Public Assistance grants. That figure has not yet been determined by MEMA and FEMA for this disaster declaration.

LOOKING AHEAD

The top priority remains helping displaced survivors secure safe, sanitary temporary housing while they repair or rebuild their homes. These efforts will continue through coordination with and support of volunteer and faith-based organizations and community-based recovery committees, as well as FEMA’s direct housing program and ongoing rental assistance grants.

MEMA and FEMA continue support of local governments and certain private nonprofits in completing debris removal, rebuilding public infrastructure that was damaged or destroyed during the tornado outbreak and assisting local communities and voluntary agencies in helping survivors with continuing needs and establishing plans for long-term recovery.

FEMA’s Community Recovery Coordination has been deployed to provide technical assistance to communities facing long-term recovery planning. The staff is currently focused on Louisville and Winston County, working with city and county leadership to determine what level of federal and state recovery resource coordination is needed to support their community recovery challenges.

IMPORTANT DEADLINES:

July 26 – Deadline for local governments to remove eligible debris from public rights-of-way
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Additional Federal Assistance
offered low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations. More than $13.6 million was approved in two months.
Private Sector
Small businesses joined with larger companies and business associations to assist survivors, donate equipment, supplies and resources, including technical support, infrastructure for the mobile hospital and advertising.
Three weeks after an EF-4 tornado destroyed the Winston Medical Center, a team of local, multi-state and federal partners established a mobile disaster hospital in Louisville. Staff from the Medical Center continue treating patients at the temporary facility.
People are the Priority
After a series of storms and tornadoes struck Mississippi, destroying homes, factories and a hospital, state, local and federal agencies worked with the private sector and voluntary agencies to bring relief to storm survivors.
A FEMA-owned mobile medical facility was trucked in to ensure all critical needs, medical or otherwise, were met.
Federal disaster declared in 12 Mississippi counties made money available for disaster survivors, state and local governments and eligible nonprofits.
Individual Assistance
FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides housing assistance and other aid for homeowners and renters. In the past two months, more than $5.3 million was approved to help Mississippians recover from the disaster.
Public Assistance
FEMA’s Public Assistance Program reimburses state and local governments, tribal nations and eligible nonprofits for disaster-related expenses, including debris removal. Based on damage assessments, more than 90 percent of disaster- related debris has been removed during the past two months. More than 50 Requests for Public Assistance have been received from eligible applicants.
Voluntary Agencies
Thousands of volunteers cleared debris, cleaned houses and repaired homes across the state.
FEMA, HUD and SBA are supporting MEMA’s Long-Term Housing Task Force with the goal of moving survivors back into their homes or into safe, sanitary and secure temporary housing. As of July 7 2014, 22 temporary housing units are occupied.
Mississippi Severe Storms, Tornadoes & Flooding April 28—May 3, 2014
Response and Recovery
The American Red Cross sheltered 678 storm survivors and provided thousands of meals and snacks.

The Salvation Army opened eight mobile kitchens and served more than 10,000 meals.