DeSantis orders speed-up of money to clean Hurricane Michael’s mess

Jan 22, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis directed the state of Division of Emergency Management to speed up sending money to Panhandle communities being swamped financially by “massive” amounts of debris from Hurricane Michael. DeSantis also said that in addition to up-fronting disaster relief money to local governments, he will push the White House to increase federal reimbursements for debris clean up.

“I think we have to take a deep breath and understand large-scale disaster recovery takes many years. It’s not just a matter of months,” Long said. “While a lot’s been accomplished, we realize we have a long way to go.”

Long also said he doesn’t expect Michael’s recovery to require a request for additional emergency funding from Congress or that the response for Michael will be affected by the federal shutdown, which has halted paperwork for people seeking reimbursements from 2017’s Hurricane Irma.

State officials have estimated the Oct.10 hurricane created about 20 million cubic tons of debris, as the Category 4 storm barreled a path from Mexico Beach into Georgia. Much of the debris is still strewn across the region.

Local governments expect to eventually receive 75 percent reimbursement from the federal government for debris removal. DeSantis said his request is to bump that figure to 90 percent on the federal side.

DeSantis said he’s seen progress in the clean-up and that quicker the debris is cleared, other steps in the recovery will follow, such as reopening business and being able to welcome tourists.

As of Friday, the storm had resulted in 141,039 insurance claims, with estimated insured losses of $5.023 billion. So far, nearly 73 percent of the claims have been closed, and 84 percent of the closed cases have resulted in money changing hands.

For the full article, please visit The Orlando Sentinel.


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