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FDEM has key messages for Floridians in the wake of Hurricane Idalia

September 5, 2023

Following Idalia’s impacts, the Florida Division of Emergency Management wants to ensure Florida residents have all the information necessary to recover.

Individuals are encouraged to apply for FEMA assistance and continue to sort through storm debris.

FDEM Deputy Communications Director Amelia Johnson says that there is a variety of resources available through FEMA. Johnson recommends inspecting your home for damage and then calling your insurance provider.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has provided a comprehensive directory of recovery information at https://www.floridadisaster.org/updates/. Here are some points of emphasis.

Recovery Centers

The State of Florida and FEMA opened a Disaster Recovery Center in Dixie County today to assist to people affected by Hurricane Idalia. The center will remain open until further notice. Appointments are not necessary.

Disaster Recovery Centers provide information from state agencies, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Visitors can get help applying for federal assistance, learn about the types of assistance available and receive updates on applications.

The Dixie County Disaster Recovery Center is located at the Dixie County Public Library. It is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday. More centers will begin opening in the coming days.

In addition to visiting a center, people can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, using the FEMA mobile app or calling 800-621-3362, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET every day to receive help.

Individual Assistance

FEMA provides assistance to eligible families and individuals affected by a disaster who have uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs. Individual Assistance may include renting temporary housing, repairing uninsured or underinsured homes and other disaster-caused expenses. 14 counties are approved for Individual Assistance:

  • Citrus
  • Columbia
  • Dixie
  • Gilchrist 
  • Hamilton
  • Hernando
  • Jefferson
  • Lafayette
  • Levy
  • Madison
  • Pasco
  • Pinellas
  • Suwannee
  • Taylor

Critical Needs Assistance

FEMA may provide financial assistance to Hurricane Idalia applicants who have immediate needs because of displacement. Immediate or critical needs are lifesaving items, which include water, food, first aid supplies, prescriptions, baby formula, diapers, medical equipment, personal hygiene products, and fuel for transportation. Critical Needs Assistance is a one-time $700 payment per household.

Floridians who sustained loss from Hurricane Idalia and live in Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee or Taylor counties may be eligible for FEMA grants for temporary lodging, basic home repairs, personal property losses and other eligible expenses.

Clean and Sanitize Assistance

Homes that were damaged by Hurricane Idalia but are still livable may be eligible for a one-time financial assistance from FEMA to help with cleanup. There are qualifications to be eligible to apply.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance 

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Idalia. Applicants must live in the FEMA-designated disaster impacted area. Eligible Floridians can submit a claim at www.FloridaJobs.org

All applications and more information on eligibility is available at www.floridadisaster.org

Next steps and cleanup

After applying for FEMA assistance, you may receive notification letters from FEMA either by mail or electronically. Be sure to have contact up-to-date contact information on file. FEMA may need to perform home inspections or get additional information.

To expedite the debris removal process, FDEM recommends keeping piles separated into six categories: vegetative debris, hazardous waste, construction debris, household garbage, large appliances and electronics.

Never place debris near other trees, structures or downed powerlines. Do not burn waste, as it can create additional safety hazards. Instead, place piles near a curb and do not block the road.

Avoid displaced wildlife and contact local animal control. If returning from a shelter, do not enter a damaged home if you smell gas, floodwater remains around the building or authorities have not cleared the area.

Since Idalia made landfall last Wednesday, 96% of power has been restored, according to a press release from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

FDEM continues to release updates on Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts on their social channels and online.

Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
Sources include nearby emergency management agencies, FEMA, and your local NPR affiliate. 
Sources include the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and other nearby traffic information.

1885 Stadium Road
PO Box 118405
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-5551

A service of WUFT at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications 

Partners of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network include: Florida's Division of Emergency Management, WDNA (Miami), WFIT (Melbourne), WMFE (Orlando), WFSU (Tallahassee), WGCU (Fort Myers), WJCT (Jacksonville), WKGC (Panama City), WLRN (Miami), WMNF (Tampa-Sarasota), WQCS (Fort Pierce), WUFT (Gainesville-Ocala), WUSF (Tampa), WUWF (Pensacola) and Florida Public Media.

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