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  • U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Declares Fishery Disaster in Florida following Hurricane Michael

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Declares Fishery Disaster in Florida following Hurricane Michael



    (November 1, 2018) - - Today, in response to a request from Governor Rick Scott on October 23, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that a commercial fishery failure occurred in Florida as a result of Hurricane Michael, which struck the panhandle with devastating force on October 10.

    “The Department of Commerce stands ready to support communities across Florida in their hour of need,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The Trump Administration is committed to ensuring that all Americans receive the necessary aid to recover and rebuild following the destruction and harm caused by Hurricane Michael.”

    This determination provides the basis for Congress to appropriate fishery disaster assistance for the new fiscal year, which began in October. In 2018, Secretary Ross has previously declared fishery disasters in Texas after Hurricane Harvey and in California, Oregon, and Washington.

    To further facilitate recovery efforts in Florida and beyond, the Department of Commerce can look to the Economic Development Administration, which spearheads the Federal government’s efforts to deliver economic assistance and support long-term growth after natural disasters.




    Credit: U.S. Department of Commerce...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture says Assistance is Available through NRCS for Ag Land Damaged by Hurricane Michael

    U.S. Department of Agriculture says Assistance is Available through NRCS for Ag Land Damaged by Hurricane Michael



    Gainesville, FL - - (October 26, 2018) - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that Florida farmers and ranchers who suffered damage to working lands and livestock mortality due to Hurricane Michael are encouraged to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

    Agricultural producers in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla and Washington counties are eligible to apply for assistance. The first sign-up period ends Nov. 16, 2018. A second sign-up period will end Dec. 14, 2018. This assistance is available to individual farmers and ranchers to aid in recovery efforts on their properties and does not apply to local governments or other entities.

    Conservation practices available through EQIP can protect your land from erosion, support disaster recovery and repair, and can help mitigate loss from exceptional storm events in the future. Farmers and ranchers seeking financial and technical assistance through EQIP should visit their local NRCS office to sign up. Bonifay, Marianna and Quincy field offices are open to serve producers in Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf and Liberty counties until Blountstown Field Office is repaired.

    For more information on NRCS and the EQIP program, visit the Florida NRCS website. For more information on disaster assistance programs for farmers and ranchers, visit farmers.gov/recover.



    Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
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  • U. S. Department of Agriculture Assistance Available to Restore Infrastructure Damaged by Hurricane Florence

    U. S. Department of Agriculture Assistance Available to Restore Infrastructure Damaged by Hurricane Florence


    Assistance Request Deadline is Dec. 5, 2018


    Washington, DC - - (October 26, 2018) - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in South Carolina is accepting requests for assistance to help communities implement critical emergency measures and restore eligible infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, houses, and businesses as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Florence and associated flooding.

    Requests for assistance through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program, which is designed to relieve imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods and other natural occurrences in watershed, must be submitted in writing to the NRCS State Conservationist in South Carolina by Dec. 5, 2018.

    “NRCS is partnering with local sponsors to protect eligible infrastructure that is in jeopardy and continues to pose threats to life and property,” said Ann English, State Conservationist for NRCS in South Carolina. “Requests need to be submitted by the deadline so NRCS can determine site eligibility for assistance.”

    Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, but all EWP projects must be sponsored by a state, tribal county or municipal unit of government. Funding will be based on initial damage assessments. Sponsors will participate in more detailed damage assessment reports that will give a clearer picture of the needs.

    Examples of common EWP projects include NRCS assistance to local government entities in repairing water control structures, clearing debris-clogged waterways, and stabilizing severely eroded streambanks that threaten homes, business, and utilities.

    Generally, NRCS will pay between 75 and 90 percent of the restoration costs, and the sponsor is responsible for the remainder, which can include in-kind support. EWP allows sponsors 60 days from the disaster occurrence or 60 days after the site is accessible to request federal assistance.

    For more information on the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, contact your local USDA Service Center or visit the South Carolina NRCS website at www.sc.nrcs.usda.gov . For more information on disaster assistance programs for farmers and ranchers, visit farmers.gov/recover .





    Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
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  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Activates Aid for Uninsured Floridians Needing Medicine after Hurricane Michael

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Activates Aid for Uninsured Floridians Needing Medicine after Hurricane Michael



    (October 18, 2018) - - Thousands of uninsured Floridians are eligible for no-cost replacements of critical medications lost or damaged by Hurricane Michael. This relief comes from the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP), managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

    The program pays for prescription medications for people without health insurance who are affected by disasters. More than 4,900 Florida pharmacies participate in EPAP, and more than 72,000 pharmacies participate nationwide.

    “The Emergency Prescription Assistance Program provides vital assistance to people without insurance who rely upon certain prescription medicines to protect their health after disasters,” said HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, M.D. “I encourage citizens in Florida who can use this assistance to take advantage of it to ensure they have an adequate supply of the medicines they need.”

    At no cost to uninsured patients, those needing certain prescription medications during an emergency can obtain a 30-day supply at any EPAP participating pharmacy through Nov. 15. Most prescription drugs exit disclaimer icon are available.

    Uninsured patients also may use the program to replace specific medical supplies, vaccines or medical equipment, such as canes and walkers, damaged or lost as a direct result of Hurricane Michael or as a secondary result of loss or damage caused while in transit from the emergency site to an emergency shelter.

    EPAP provides an efficient mechanism for enrolled pharmacies to process claims for prescription medication, specific medical supplies, vaccines and some forms of durable medical equipment for eligible individuals in a federally identified disaster area.

    Uninsured Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael can call 855-793-7470, to learn if their medication or specific durable medical equipment is covered by EPAP and to find a participating pharmacy or visit www.phe.gov/epap .

    HHS also has Disaster Medical Assistance Teams working alongside local healthcare providers to care for emergency department patients at damaged or overwhelmed hospitals. In addition, these federal medical teams have triaged people found by Urban Search and Rescue and provided basic medical care for residents in local emergency shelters. Since arrival, these teams have seen more than 1,500 patients.

    A U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps behavioral health team also is providing behavioral health support for emergency responders.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has information available to help citizens understand the safe use of medical products, including insulin and devices, exposed to flooding or unsafe water after Hurricane Michael. This information includes the safe use of temperature-sensitive drugs when refrigeration is temporarily unavailable.

    The FDA also continues to monitor Hurricane Michael’s impact on companies that develop products the FDA regulates, including medicines, medical devices, food, and the blood supply, to help ensure safety and availability. There have been no reports of significant impacts on companies that produce critically important medical products, and no shortages of these products are expected at this time.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subject matter experts are working with the state health department to determine and meet any long-term public health effects of the hurricane and providing public health information such as safe clean up and preventing common post-disaster diseases.

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is providing waivers and flexibilities to assist healthcare providers and suppliers in providing necessary care and services to beneficiaries throughout the emergency.

    CMS is working with the Kidney Community Emergency Response network and dialysis providers to check on the well-being of dialysis patients and reschedule their dialysis services at open dialysis facilities after the hurricane.

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration activated its Disaster Distress Helpline, a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. The Disaster Distress Helpline is toll-free, multilingual, and confidential. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (for Spanish, press 2 or text Hablanos to 66746) to connect with a trained crisis counselor. The helpline has received almost 200 calls from Floridians in the past week.

    HHS Secretary Alex Azar declared public health emergencies in Florida and Georgia to authorize flexibilities for CMS beneficiaries, following President Trump’s emergency declarations in those states due to Hurricane Michael. These actions and flexibilities are retroactive to Oct. 9, 2018, in Georgia and Oct. 7, 2018, in Florida.

    HHS, through ASPR, leads the federal government’s public health and medical response and recovery support for states and territories after disasters. HHS works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. ASPR’s mission is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats.

    Information on disaster health and HHS actions is available on www.phe.gov/emergency . Public Service Announcements with post-storm health tips are available on https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/index.html .





    Credit: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services...
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  • Location of Federal Communications Commission Releases in Connection with Hurricane Michael

    Location of Federal Communications Commission Releases in Connection with Hurricane Michael



    (October 18, 2018) - - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that all FCC releases in connection with Hurricane Michael may be found at https://www.fcc.gov/Michael .




    Credit: Federal Communications Commission...
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  • FEMA and Partners Helping Hurricane Michael Survivors

    in News

    FEMA and Partners Helping Hurricane Michael Survivors

    FEMA and Partners Helping Hurricane Michael Survivors



    (October 17, 2018) - - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published the following information:

    Washington, DC - - One week after Hurricane Michael hit Florida and Georgia, FEMA and other federal agencies are working alongside state and local responders and volunteers from national and local nonprofit organizations to aid survivors.

    News and Resources for Survivors

    FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are on the ground in Florida and Georgia helping survivors register for assistance. Survivors can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov, at a shelter or by calling 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). FEMA will contact all registered survivors to let them know if they are eligible for assistance. FEMA is not writing checks to survivors at any location.

    So far, more than 48,000 people in Florida and 9,000 in Georgia have contacted FEMA for information about disaster assistance. While FEMA cannot make Michael survivors whole, FEMA can provide assistance that helps them begin the recovery process. FEMA is not writing checks to survivors at any location.

    Some survivors may receive an application for a low-interest disaster loan from the U. S. Small Business Administration. Survivors who receive an application should complete those applications as they may lead to other forms of assistance. SBA applications can also be done online.

    Distribution sites are providing meals, water and other items in areas where stores are not open, or where supplies are limited.
    • More than 281,000 meals have been provided to Florida survivors; residents can find information about food and water locations by visiting FloridaDisaster.org.
    • Information on locations in Georgia can be found on the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security agency website.
    Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael.
    • To file a Disaster Unemployment Assistance claim, go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920.
    National Dislocated Worker Grant funding is available to help Florida assess its workforce needs due to significant job losses caused by Hurricane Michael. This funding assists the state and local governments to expand service capacity of dislocated worker training and employment programs.

    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients in Florida will be allowed to purchase hot foods temporarily thanks to a waiver from USDA. USDA also launched a disaster assistance discovery tool through Farmers.gov to provide information to farmers about disaster assistance programs.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Disaster Distress Helpline is available to help survivors cope with stress. To speak with a trained crisis counselor, call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (for Spanish, press 2 or text Hablanos to 66746).

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has activated the National Pharmaceutical Pharmacy Disaster Network Plan. Veterans impacted by Hurricane Michael who require an emergency supply of medications can access retail pharmacies. Call 1-855-574-7288 for more information.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are implementing the Operation Blue Roof program today and will be starting right of entry collection in Bay County, Florida.

    The Internal Revenue Service granted an extension of the Oct. 15 and other filing deadlines to people who were affected by Hurricane Michael. Survivors in parts of Florida and elsewhere have until Feb. 28, 2019, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments.

    The American Red Cross has shelters open in Georgia and Florida where survivors can get a hot meal, take a shower, charge phones and find out about different forms of disaster assistance. There is space available in the shelters for people who need to stay overnight, but survivors do not have to stay in a shelter to take advantage of these services.

    In addition to the American Red Cross, numerous faith-based, voluntary, and non-governmental agencies and the private sector are working to reach every survivor who needs help
    • The Salvation Army mobile feeding units are offering meals to survivors in Panama City, Apalachicola and Tallahassee, Florida. Since the response to Hurricane Michael began, the Salvation Army has served more than 120,000 meals while also providing emotional and spiritual support to Hurricane Michael survivors.
    • Operation Barbeque Relief has field kitchens in Florida with a total meal capacity of 30,000 meals per day.
    • In Florida, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief disaster kitchens are producing thousands of meals for survivors every day.
    • In Georgia, Southern Baptists Disaster Relief has one kitchen with a capacity of 15,000 meals per day.
    • Airbnb homes in Georgia and Florida have opened to host displaced survivors for free.
    • Comcast is offering free access to 8,000 XFINITY WiFi hotspots in Tallahassee and the Panhandle. The service is available to customers and non-customers.
    • Verizon has free charging stations in Albany, Georgia, and two charging stations in Marianna and Panama City, Florida. Verizon’s Big Red Command Trailer has multiple workstations and satellite connectivity and is supporting emergency personnel at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center.
    • Verizon’s Big Red Command Trailer has multiple workstations and satellite connectivity and is supporting the Bay County Emergency Operations Center.
    • Voluntary technology professionals at Information Technology Disaster Resource Center are providing free communications support for Albany, Georgia.
    • Datto is working with the Red Cross to provide internet in Florida shelters.
    • Uber is offering free rides to and from shelters. Use the code MICHAELSHELTER to receive free UberX and UberXL trips to and from any official Red Cross Shelter in Florida until October 31, 2018. Residents can travel for up to $25 per trip or up to 5 trips per user.
    Advice for residents in Florida and Georgia:
    • Start navigating your recovery process as soon as possible. Return home only if you are told it is safe by local authorities. Contact your insurance company to file a claim. Photograph/video damages, and then begin cleaning up.
    • Florida survivors are urged to visit Florida’s Emergency Information page for up-to-date disaster survivor resources including power outages, rumor control, food distribution sites, debris reporting, and a list of open shelters.
    • Survivors in Georgia can learn more about the state response to Hurricane Michael by visiting the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency's website.



    Credit: Federal Emergency Management Agency...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Replacement SNAP Benefits in 12 Hurricane-Impacted Florida Counties

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Replacement SNAP Benefits in 12 Hurricane-Impacted Florida Counties


    Washington, DC - - (October 16, 2018) - - Households impacted by Hurricane Michael in 12 Florida counties could be eligible for mass replacement of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced. This is one of several steps USDA is taking to ensure Floridians in need have the means to purchase food.

    “Many Florida residents lost everything, including food they had previously purchased with their SNAP benefits,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps, who oversees USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “The replacement of SNAP benefits will help victims restock the food they need as they begin the long process of recovery,” Lipps said.

    Rather than require SNAP households to report food losses individually, USDA has granted Florida the ability to approve automatic mass replacements for residents of certain counties and zip codes who suffered food losses resulting from power outages and flooding. The counties include: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla, and Washington. SNAP recipients residing in other affected areas may request replacement benefits by filing an affidavit with the local office attesting to hurricane-related loss.

    Lipps noted that Georgia residents participating in SNAP also received their October benefits early, to help provide some much needed relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

    Today’s announcements are the latest in a series of USDA actions taken to help residents cope with the storm and its aftermath, including approval of a waiver for SNAP beneficiaries to be able to purchase ready-to-eat hot foods, normally not allowed under SNAP rules.

    USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.




    Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture...
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  • U.S. General Services Administration Announces Hurricane Michael Relief Efforts and Special Emergency Procurement Authorities

    U.S. General Services Administration Announces Hurricane Michael Relief Efforts and Special Emergency Procurement Authorities


    GSA’s senior procurement executive signed memo raising certain minimum thresholds to directly support Hurricane Michael relief efforts


    Washington, DC - - (October 17, 2018) - - The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has raised the micro purchase threshold, the simplified acquisition threshold, and the simplified leasing acquisition threshold, in order to address the needs created by Hurricane Michael.

    Raising the thresholds will help Heads of Contracting Activities and contracting officers quickly gain access to resources needed in providing direct support for Hurricane Michael relief efforts.

    The new thresholds do the following:
    • increase the micro-purchase threshold to $20,000;
    • increase the simplified acquisition threshold to $750,000 or $13,000,000 for commercial items; and
    • increase the simplified lease acquisition threshold to $750,000.

    The thresholds were raised through a Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) memo signed October 11, 2018. Since Hurricane Michael was declared an emergency by President Trump, it meets the legal definition of "emergency" in accordance with GSA's Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Class Deviation - Exercise of Special Emergency Procurement Authorities, allowing the thresholds to be raised. The increased thresholds will remain in effect until February 28, 2019, unless otherwise rescinded, modified or extended.

    GSA also raised these thresholds for Hurricane Florence relief efforts through an SPE memo signed September 13, 2018.

    For more information on GSA’s assistance to the public, first responders and federal employees, visit GSA.gov/emergency .




    Credit: U.S. General Services Administration
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  • FEMA Leads Massive Whole Community Response Effort for Hurricane Michael Survivors

    FEMA Leads Massive Whole Community Response Effort for Hurricane Michael Survivors




    Washington, DC - - (October 15, 2018) - - Thousands of first responders and volunteers continue working together to save lives, restore power and help survivors affected by Hurricane Michael.

    More than 16,000 federal employees, including over 8,000 military personnel have been deployed to support Hurricane Michael response efforts.

    Since Michael’s landfall, search and rescue teams from FEMA, the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard and others, working alongside state responders and volunteers, have completed 110 evacuations, 4,193 rescues/assists, 15,287 shelter in place checks, and 128 animal assists. Structural assessments were completed on 16,827 structures in Florida.

    FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are in Florida helping survivors register for assistance. More than 28,000 individuals and households registered for disaster assistance and are being referred to federal, state or voluntary agencies for assistance.

    Sunday, President Trump issued a major disaster declaration for Georgia, making federal assistance available to individuals and households, and authorizing debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.

    Sixteen different states are sending support through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. More than 25 missions are active in both Florida and Georgia with more than 430 people deployed to assist.

    More than 35,000 utility workers from 26 states, are working to restore power. Customer outages are declining; as customers are restored, companies are reallocating resources strategically. Efforts in the hardest hit areas may be prolonged due to access constraints and the level of damage.

    In Florida, FEMA provided 715,000 meals and 1.5 million liters of water per day. FEMA transferred more than 350,000 meals to Georgia for feeding operations.

    The federal government is supporting more than 30 distribution sites to provide meals, water and other items in areas where stores are not open, or supplies are limited. Florida residents can find information about food and water locations by visiting FloridaDisaster.org. Georgia residents can learn more at the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency's website. These points of distribution are further supported by voluntary and faith-based field kitchens and mobile feeding units.

    Residents in Alabama, Florida and Georgia should:
    • Stay safe. Return home only if you are told it is safe by local officials. As you clear debris please look carefully around the debris for any visible cables. If you see any cables, wait for professional help. Power cables can kill easily.
    • Be strong. Focus on your specific needs and take care of one another. Shelters are providing information, charging stations, and connection to assistance from federal, state, and voluntary agencies. They also have communications support so you can contact loved ones and let them know you’re safe.
    • Start cleaning up. Photograph/video damages before you start cleaning up. Contact your insurance company to file a claim.
    For those outside the impacted area,never forget – Cash Is Best! It’s critical that the right resources get where they’re needed most. A financial contribution to one of the over 80 voluntary and faith-based organizations operating in the impacted area will speed recovery and help survivors.

    The Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has made the Disaster Distress Helpline available to assist residents in the impacted area in coping with the stress caused by Hurricane Michael. To connect with a trained crisis counselor, call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (for Spanish, press 2 or text Hablanos to 66746).

    Other federal, private sector and voluntary organizations response actions include:

    FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Teams
    • Three rescues, 110 evacuations, 61 assists, 15,287 shelter in place checks, 1,055 animal assists, and 16,827 structural assessments completed in Florida.
    American Red Cross
    • More than 1,600 people stayed overnight in shelters in Florida and Georgia.
    • As people are now in shelters, survivors can use the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well site to check in and find missing individuals.
    U.S. Department of Defense
    • More than 5,000 personnel are engaged in Hurricane Michael response efforts.
    • Department assets including 32 helicopters, six fixed wing aircraft, 17 swift water vehicles and up to 160 high water vehicles are available to support search and rescue missions.
    National Guard Bureau
    • More than 4,000 National Guard troops in Florida and Georgia have been assigned to over 50 missions that include search & rescue, engineering, route clearance and POD support at 30 locations. Troops are also providing support at 12 shelter locations.
    • A Guard heavy engineering unit has cleared 107 city blocks in the affected area.
    U.S. Coast Guard / U.S. Customs and Border Patrol
    • U.S. Coast Guard working with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, completed 355 assistances/rescues and one animal rescue in Florida.Three USCG Damage Assessment Teams and two Reconstruction Teams are assessing and repairing damaged facilities.
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    • The Corps is engaged in seven response programs including providing temporary emergency power in Florida, offering technical assistance on debris removal, route clearance and temporary roofing.
    • The Corps deployed 90 personnel to support response efforts.
    • Twenty route clearance teams are clearing roads in Florida.
    • Two Deployable Tactical Operations System Vehicle are in Florida to assist with communication capabilities and connectivity.
    • The Corps is actively monitoring and managing dams within the area impacted by Hurricane Michael to make as much water storage available as possible.
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • Eight Health and Human Services Disaster Medical Assistance Teams are caring for patients at four emergency departments in Florida.
    • A U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps behavioral health team is providing crisis counseling for hospital staff, emergency responders and community members in severely impacted areas.
    U.S. Department of Transportation
    • DOT created an interactive web mapping application on transportation infrastructure.
    Federal Communications Commission
    • The FCC is providing emergency assistance to communications providers and has created a dedicated webpage for information about Michael, including tips for communicating during an emergency.
    U.S. Department of Interior
    • Interior has 225 personnel on the ground conducting debris clearance and infrastructure damage assessments.
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    • USDA launched a disaster assistance discovery tool through its new website Farmers.gov that provides information about disaster assistance programs offered by the USDA.
    U.S. Department of Labor
    • National Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) funding is available to help Florida assess its workforce needs due to significant job losses caused by Hurricane Michael. This funding assists the state and local governments to expand service capacity of dislocated worker training and employment programs.
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • NOAA law enforcement continues supporting urban search and rescue missions.
    • Aerial images of the Florida panhandle are available on www.NOAA.gov.
    Whole...
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  • Federal Emergency Management Agency Issues FAQ for Survivors with Losses from Both Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Matthew

    Federal Emergency Management Agency Issues FAQ for Survivors with Losses from Both Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Matthew



    (October 13, 2018) - - Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published the following information:

    Background: Thousands of survivors whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Florence were also affected by Hurricane Matthew two years ago. Many homes were still being repaired when Florence struck. Survivors residing in Special Flood Hazard Areas who received real property and/or personal property assistance after Matthew were automatically enrolled in a 36-month Group Flood Insurance Policy but may not be aware they have coverage through 2019.

    Q: If I received real property or personal property assistance from FEMA after Hurricane Matthew, will I be eligible for Home Repair assistance after Hurricane Florence?

    A: If your home is in a Special Flood Hazard Area you were automatically enrolled in a three-year Group Flood Insurance Policy and are insured for losses from Hurricane Florence. You should speak to your insurance agent and/or file a claim.

    If you are not sure how to contact your agent or insurance company, call 800-427-4661. If you are unsure how to file your claim, visit this website: fema.gov/nfip-file-your-claim. Make sure you have the following information handy when speaking to your agent or insurance company:

    • Policy Declarations page (official document detailing your flood insurance coverage), if available.
    • Contact information to reach you, including a telephone phone number or alternate contact number and an email address.
    • The insured property location.
    • The name of any mortgage company(s).

    An insurance adjuster should contact you within a few days of starting your claim. If you do not hear from an insurance adjuster, you can contact your insurance agent or company again.

    If your home is not in a Special Flood Hazard Area and you have uninsured damage from Florence, you may be eligible for additional disaster assistance for items not covered by your policy. To register, call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY) or by applying online at DisasterAssistance.gov.

    Q: What if my Hurricane Matthew-related home repairs weren’t finished yet?

    A: FEMA-contracted housing inspectors are trained to identify damage related to Hurricane Florence, even if a dwelling was in the process of being repaired from another storm.

    Q: What if I was not living in my home because it was still undergoing repair from damage caused by Hurricane Matthew?

    A: You must be able to prove you lived in your disaster-damaged dwelling as your pre-Florence primary residence before receiving Housing Assistance and some types of Other Needs Assistance. FEMA verifies occupancy at the time of registration or at the time of inspection.

    If you were not occupying your primary residence at the time of the disaster, you may still receive consideration for assistance. Submit a written statement along with supporting documentation containing your name and the address of your residence.




    Credit: Federal Emergency Management Agency
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  • FEMA Urges Residents in Hurricane Michael's Path to Prepare Now

    in News

    FEMA Urges Residents in Hurricane Michael's Path to Prepare Now

    FEMA Urges Residents in Hurricane Michael's Path to Prepare Now





    Washington, DC - - (October 8, 2018) - - Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center predict life-threatening storm surge and extremely high winds could occur with Hurricane Michael’s landfall.

    Michael is expected to be a dangerous major hurricane when it makes landfall within the next 48 to 72 hours somewhere along the panhandle and the Big Bend area of Florida. Residents who live in those areas should listen to local officials and prepare now.

    History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly. Hurricane watches and warnings are in effect for areas along both the Alabama and Florida coastlines.

    As Michael continues to be a fast-moving storm, it is urgent that residents be prepared for these forecast changes and take the following preparedness steps now:
    • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
    • If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
    • Restock emergency preparedness kits with food and water.
    • Refill gas tanks and stock vehicles with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
    • Bring patio furniture and garbage cans inside; they could become dangerous in high winds.
    • Get prescription refills if needed.
    • Have cash on hand.
    For other Hurricane Michael updates, follow @FEMA_Brock, @FEMA, @Readygov or @FEMARegion4 on Twitter.




    Credit: Federal Emergency Management Agency
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  • Hurricane Florence Survivors Eligible for Small Business Administration Loan Deferments

    Hurricane Florence Survivors Eligible for Small Business Administration Loan Deferments



    Washington, DC - - (September 28, 2018) - - To further support Hurricane Florence recovery efforts, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will offer deferments of up to nine months on SBA-serviced loans held by eligible residents, businesses and private nonprofits.

    Borrowers located in a North or South Carolina county designated a federal disaster area after Hurricane Florence, with SBA loans in “regular servicing” status on Sept. 13, 2018, may request a deferment of principal and interest for up to nine months.

    Loans eligible for deferment include:
    • 7(a) Loans
    • 504 Loans
    • Community Advantage Loans
    • Microloans
    • SBA disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations
    To request a deferment on non-disaster loans, contact your participating SBA lender or respective loan servicing center. SBA disaster loan borrowers should contact the Birmingham Disaster Loan Servicing Center at (800-736-6048), or by email at birminghamdlsc@sba.gov (link sends e-mail).

    Interest will continue to accrue on loans in a deferment status. The SBA will evaluate each request individually, and may grant the deferment when the borrower can show the need for relief based on the additional financial adversity caused by Hurricane Florence.

    Small businesses recovering from Hurricane Florence are eligible to apply for SBA Express Bridge Loans. These loans are available via SBA Express Lenders to help their current small business customers impacted by the hurricane. The loan limit is $25,000.

    Visit the Express Bridge Loan program guide for more information.

    For more information about SBA disaster loans, visit www.sba.gov/disaster.



    Credit: U.S. Small Business Administration
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  • U.S. Small Business Administration Offers Disaster Assistance to Residents of South Carolina Affected by Hurricane Florence

    U.S. Small Business Administration Offers Disaster Assistance to Residents of South Carolina Affected by Hurricane Florence



    Washington, DC - - (September 22, 2018) - - U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon issued the following statement after the announcement of the Presidential disaster declaration for several counties in South Carolina affected by Hurricane Florence beginning Sept. 8, 2018:

    “The U.S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing South Carolina residents with the most effective response possible to assist businesses, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans. Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority.”

    The disaster declaration covers Dillon, Horry, Marion and Marlboro counties in South Carolina which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Chesterfield, Darlington, Florence, Georgetown and Williamsburg in South Carolina; and Anson, Brunswick, Columbus, Richmond, Robeson and Scotland in North Carolina.

    Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Applicants may be eligible for a loan increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

    For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

    Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.

    Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations and 2.0 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

    Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

    To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

    Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@s ba.gov (link sends e-mail).

    The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 20, 2018. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 21, 2019.




    Credits: U.S. Small Business Administration
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  • U.S. Department of Labor Awards Disaster Recovery Grant to North Carolina in Wake of Hurricane Florence

    U.S. Department of Labor Awards Disaster Recovery Grant to North Carolina in Wake of Hurricane Florence




    Washington, DC - - (September 21, 2018) - - The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of a Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) to the North Carolina Department of Commerce to assess workforce needs in response to Hurricane Florence.

    Hurricane Florence brought record amounts of rainfall and flooding to the affected counties. The storm received a major disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on September 14, 2018, enabling the State to request DWG funding to assess workforce needs in the following 18 counties declared eligible for FEMA's Public Assistance Program: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Jones, New Hanover, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, and Wayne.

    Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker training and employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses.





    Courtesy: U.S. Department of Labor
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  • Federal Communications Commission Issues Hurricane Florence Communications Status Report for September 21, 2018

    Federal Communications Commission Issues Hurricane Florence Communications Status Report for September 21, 2018






    Washington, DC - - (September 21, 2018) - - The Federal Communications Commission has issued a report on the status of communications services in the geographic areas impacted by Hurricane Florence as of September 21, 2018 at 10:30 AM EDT.

    The report may be reviewed HERE .




    Courtesy: Federal Communications Commission
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