Filed Under:  Local, National

Isaac’s damage totals at $2B and counting

17th September 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Zoe Sullivan
Contributing Writer

Estimates put damage resulting from Hurricane Isaac at roughly $2 billion. As of the end of Tuesday, September 11h, the state had issued in food stamps to 135,471 households. Orleans Parish had one of the highest numbers of recipients with 38,361, but Jef­ferson Parish actually topped that, with 42,209 individuals and families receiving the emergency food support. In addition to the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP), which comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bud­get, almost $55 million in housing assistance has also been allocated by the federal government, according to the Federal Emer­gency Management Agency. Sen­ator Mary Landrieu and Congress Member Cedric Rich­mond also announced on Sept. 12th that the state will receive a further $27.3 million in additional federal support.

“This money is a critical step to help residents and businesses begin to function as normal, as well as reimburse the state for emergency preparedness and response measures taken,” Senator Landrieu stated in a press release. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu offered gratitude for the support in the same document. “I want to thank our partners at FEMA and GOHSEP [Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Pre­paredness] for this expedited funding which ensures a speedy recovery from Hurricane Isaac for our residents,” he said.

At a press conference in Jefferson Parish on September 12, FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino, told the press that Jefferson Parish alone had received $9.1 million in disaster assistance. He also affirmed that “FEMA’s gonna be here as part of the team….We’ve been here from before when the storm hit, and we’ll be here long after.”

According to the press release, the City of New Orleans will receive $23.3 million for clean up and emergency work and services such as repairing traffic signals, keeping drainage systems clear, and sheltering people. The Times-Picayune reported that the city’s Sewerage and Water Board sustained roughly $60 million to its facilities during Hurricane Isaac based on preliminary assessments.

The State did not respond to emails and phone calls asking how much money the state was investing in recovery efforts and how this would affect the budget.

Individuals and families in 18 affected parishes are eligible to apply for assistance. As of Sept. 13th, 169,045 people had applied for aid, according to the FEMA news desk, and an earlier press release stated that over 1,000 people have applied for temporary housing funds.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program allows the state to receive a reimbursement of up to 75% of its costs for efforts to protect residents from Hurricane Isaac and its aftermath. Some non-profit organizations and local government agencies that provide essential services can also received funding, a FEMA press release noted.

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans represent another resource for people. The agency offers low-interest loans to help people repair their homes and businesses and to replace lost and damaged property. Roger Busch, of the SBA, told The Louisiana Weekly that “we make these loans to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes.” He stressed that renters can receive assistance from the SBA.

This article was originally published in the September 17, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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