A decade of progress through partnerships after Hurricane Katrin - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

A decade of progress through partnerships after Hurricane Katrina

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) -

This is a news release from the Mississippi Recovery Office

It’s been nearly ten years since Hurricane Katrina left widespread destruction along the Mississippi Coast. In the storm’s path, more than 234,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and more than one million people, a third of Mississippi’s population, were affected.

During the ten-years of recovery, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have collaborated with local governments and communities statewide to ensure that Mississippi rebuilds stronger and safer.

“FEMA was there to assist the state of Mississippi days before the storm made landfall and this partnership remains strong today,” said Robert Latham, Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.  “They have continued to support with financial and technical assistance to help rebuild Mississippi and make us more resilient.”   

The following is a snapshot of FEMA and state assistance provided throughout the state during the last ten years:

Helping individuals and families:

More than $1.3 billion was spent to help individuals and families meet their basic needs and begin to recover. More than 126,000 families received rental assistance – with more than

45,000 families provided with a temporary housing unit.

Rebuilding Mississippi’s Infrastructure:

MEMA administers FEMA’s Public Assistance funds. To date, FEMA has obligated over $3.2 billion – the amount committed to restore schools, public buildings, roads and bridges, medical facilities, parks and other infrastructure and for debris removal and emergency response during and after the storm.  

The current water and sewer infrastructure project underway in the City of Biloxi is the largest Public Assistance project in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. FEMA obligated over $363 million for this project.

                           

Historic preservation

In an innovative agreement to preserve historic properties after a disaster, FEMA partnered with several agencies to streamline the process required by the National Historic Preservation Act. Under this agreement – called the Secondary Programmatic Agreement – FEMA’s historic and archaeological specialists used GPS data to survey thousands of historic properties, districts and archaeological sites in the lower Mississippi counties most affected by Katrina. This survey is nearly 94 percent complete.

FEMA has worked with the state of Mississippi to safeguard these treasures in our Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation work through extensive environmental/historical assessments and collaborative decisions.

Preparing for future disasters

FEMA has obligated $314 million for Hazard Mitigation in federal funds for safe rooms, shelters, hurricane-proofing and other projects to reduce the effect of future disasters. This is part of the $364 million available to Mississippi for projects to reduce the impact of disasters on people and property. The balance of the remaining funds to be obligated is just over $50 million. To date, $159 million has been obligated for safe rooms across the state. MEMA manages the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program in Mississippi. It identifies projects and manages them from beginning to closeout.

As we reach the ten year mark and the Hurricane Katrina recovery mission is nearly completed, Mississippi’s new and rebuilt infrastructure will be less vulnerable to future storms than in 2005. “Our strong partnership with the state of Mississippi was the key part in making our recovery efforts a reality for Mississippians,” said FEMA Mississippi Recovery Office Acting Director Laura Hill. “FEMA is proud of having worked with Mississippi in our rebuilding efforts to make the state stronger and better prepared.”

Copyright 2015 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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