- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2005

Forty-six states plus the District of Columbia — covering 96 percent of the area and 99 percent of the population of the continental United States — are eligible to receive Hurricane Katrina-related emergency or disaster funds from the federal government.

The four states that have not been declared areas of federal disasters or emergencies are Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont and Wyoming.

As of Sept. 28, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had set aside $226 million for one month’s costs associated with Katrina evacuation and relocation in 42 states. As of that date, FEMA had committed $127 million to 38 states, much of that in administrative costs.

New York and Delaware have since added their names to the list.

Louisiana and Mississippi are declared federal disaster areas and receive FEMA help in a separate category, with $10.4 billion set aside for Louisiana and $5.9 billion set aside for Mississippi, as of Sept. 28.

Most of the 44 states that have been given emergency status haven’t tabulated their Katrina costs or sent in reimbursement requests to FEMA yet.

Virginia likely will compile its costs in the next two weeks, said Marc LaFountain, spokesman for the state Department of Emergency Management. Maryland hasn’t calculated its reimbursement requests yet either.

The District of Columbia still is providing food vouchers, clothing and support services to more than 100 families displaced by Katrina, so the city won’t calculate those costs until the services cease, said Barbara Childs-Pair, director of the D.C. Emergency Management Agency. The city also will include in its estimate the money it spent housing almost 300 evacuees in the D.C. Armory for about a month.

States are eligible to be reimbursed by FEMA for transporting hurricane victims to and from shelters and other destinations; for shelter operating costs; overtime pay for workers; medical services; counselors; modifications to shelter buildings; temporary classrooms and desks; and extra teachers.

They also can get money to cover the costs of leasing temporary housing for hurricane victims for up to 12 months; rental furniture for evacuees; and any contracts the state makes with food-service providers, medical personnel or other specialty services for the victims.

“The costs associated with helping these families is more than our state and local governments can bear by themselves, and we thank President Bush for pledging to help us in this effort,” said acting New Jersey Gov. Richard J. Codey on Sept. 20, after his state was given emergency status.

FEMA has approved reimbursement for five states — $1.6 million to Arkansas, $68 million to Texas, $2.5 million to Oklahoma, $782,320 to Colorado and $210,000 to Nebraska, said agency spokeswoman Barbara J. Ellis.

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