WASHINGTON—U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., announced today that Seminole County and the City of Orlando will receive a total of $17.5 million in federal grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover costs they incurred in connection with Hurricane Irma. Specifically, the federal funds will be used to reimburse Seminole County and Orlando for expenditures they made to prepare for and respond to the storm, including debris removal, infrastructure repair, and emergency services. Hurricane Irma hit Florida in September 2017, causing significant property damage and power outages, forcing government agencies to dedicate valuable resources to prepare and respond.
“As we know, Florida is often in the path of potentially devastating storms that can cause severe damage and destruction. But our local governments can’t fully prepare for the next storm if they are not quickly reimbursed for the funds they’ve used to provide a robust and timely response,” said Murphy. “I’m proud these funds were finally released to our local community and I will continue to put pressure on federal agencies to ensure long-overdue hurricane recovery funds are promptly distributed.”
The federal funds are being provided under FEMA’s Public Assistance program, a reimbursement program that provides federal funding to help communities respond to and recover from major disasters. The federal grant covers between 90 percent and 100 percent of the costs incurred by the local governments. Seminole County will receive nearly $14.5 million in reimbursement payments, while the City of Orlando will receive $3 million.
Last year, Murphy passed into law two measures to protect Floridians in the event of a natural disaster. The first requires FEMA to provide guidance and training to state and local governments, first responders, and local health care facilities on establishing emergency plans to ensure patients at these health care facilities are safe in the event of a major disaster. The second requires FEMA to provide guidance and training to state and local governments, first responders, and hazardous waste facilities on establishing emergency plans to protect public health and safety by preventing hazardous materials from being released in the event of a major disaster and responding effectively if they are released.