Seven years after the storm hit, Louisiana’s restoration from Hurricane Rita persists, enabled by approximately $1.3 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance, hazard mitigation and individual assistance funding, according to a FEMA news release.
Rita made landfall on Sept. 24, 2005, nearly a month after Hurricane Katrina.
“While Hurricane Katrina and more recently Hurricane Isaac tend to headline Louisiana’s natural disaster timeline, FEMA understands that communities in the southwestern part of the state think of Hurricane Rita when it comes to devastating storms,” FEMA’s Louisiana Recovery Office Executive Director Joseph Threat said in the release.
FEMA has provided $671.8 million in public assistance grants for Hurricane Rita-related projects in Louisiana, such as debris removal and emergency protective measures and for permanent work to repair or rebuild public facilities damaged by the storm. Of this funding, nearly 50 percent was provided for recovery work in Cameron, Calcasieu and Vermilion parishes.
In an effort to help prevent future loss of property and to save lives during future disasters, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has made more than $137.9 million in funding available to Louisiana in response to Hurricane Rita. Through this program, FEMA is able to provide traditional HMGP grants, for elevations and acquisitions for example, as well as planning grants to assist eligible applicants in setting short- and long-term mitigation goals.
FEMA also provided $523.5 million in Individuals and Households Program grants to 177,622 individuals and families statewide. These dollars were used as housing assistance for rent, repairs and replacement housing, as well as other needs assistance for such things as furniture, clothing and replacement vehicles.