Search Penny Hill Press

Monday, July 29, 2013

Federal Disaster Assistance after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Gustav, and Ike

Bruce R. Lindsay, Coordinator
Analyst in American National Government

Jared Conrad Nagel, Coordinator
Information Research Specialist

This report provides information on federal financial assistance provided to the Gulf States after major disasters were declared in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas in response to the widespread destruction that resulted from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005 and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.

Congressional interest in Gulf Coast assistance has increased in recent years because of the significant amount of assistance provided to the region. Congress has also been interested in how the money has been spent, what resources have been provided to the region, and whether the money has reached the people and entities intended to receive the funds. The financial information is also useful for congressional oversight of the funds to identify the entities that have received the funds and to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the assistance. In addition, the information can help frame the congressional debate concerning federal assistance for current and future disasters.

The financial information for the 2005 and 2008 Gulf Coast storms is provided in two sections of this report:

1. Table 1 of Section I summarizes disaster assistance supplemental appropriations enacted into public law primarily for the needs associated with the five hurricanes, with the information categorized by federal department and agency; and

2. Section II contains information on the federal assistance provided to the five Gulf Coast states through the most significant federal programs, or categories of programs.

The financial findings in this report include:

• Congress has appropriated roughly $120.5 billion in hurricane relief for the 2005 and 2008 hurricanes in 10 supplemental appropriations statutes.

• The appropriated funds have been distributed among 11 departments, 3 independent agencies/entities, numerous sub-entities, and the federal judiciary.

• Congress appropriated almost half of the funds ($53 billion, or 44% of the total) to the Department of Homeland Security, most of which went to the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

• Congress targeted roughly 22% of the total appropriations (almost $27 billion) to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for community development and housing programs.

• Almost $25 billion was appropriated to Department of Defense entities: $15.6 billion for civil construction and engineering activities undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers and $9.2 billion for military personnel, operations, and construction costs.

• FEMA has reported that roughly $5.9 billion has been obligated from the DRF after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma to save lives and property through mission assignments made to over 50 federal entities and the American Red Cross (see Table 19), $160.4 million after Hurricane Gustav through 32 federal entities (see Table 20), and $441 million after Hurricane Ike through 30 federal entities (see Table 21). In total, federal agencies obligated roughly $6.5 billion for mission assignments after the five hurricanes.

• The Small Business Administration approved almost 177,000 applications in the region for business, home, and economic injury loans, with a total loan value of almost $12 billion (Table 31 and Table 32).

• The Department of Education obligated roughly $1.8 billion to the five states for elementary, secondary, and higher education assistance (Table 12).

This report also includes a brief summary of each hurricane and a discussion concerning federal to state cost-shares. Federal assistance to states is triggered when the President issues a major disaster declaration. In general, once declared the federal share for disaster recovery is 75% while the state pays for 25% of recovery costs. However, in some cases the federal share can be adjusted upward when a sufficient amount of damage has occurred, or when altered by Congress (or both). In addition, how much federal assistance is provided to states for major disasters is influenced not only by the declaration, but also by the percentage the federal government pays for the assistance. This report includes a cost-share discussion because some of these incidents received adjusted cost-shares in certain areas.

Since 2005 Congress has been interested in not only the amount of funding that has been directed to the Gulf Coast after the 2005 and 2008 hurricanes, but also in the wide range of activities and programs brought to bear to help the Gulf Coast states recover and prepare for future storms. This report summarizes the funds Congress directed to the area as well as the federal activities and programs that were put to use in response to the 2005 and 2008 hurricanes.

Date of Report: July 5, 2013
Number of Pages: 93
Order Number: R43139
Price: $29.95

To Order:

R43139.pdf   to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART


Phone 301-253-0881

For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.