© 2024 WFSU Public Media
WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hurricane Michael Damages Amount To $25 Billion

This antique store in Blountstown was severely damaged by Hurricane Michael. (October 2018)
Ryan Dailey

Hurricane Michael has caused an estimated $25 billion in damages, according to the federal government. Efforts to get dollars into North Florida are slow and causing frustration.

Congress failed to include disaster recovery funding in its last spending bill, upsetting Florida lawmakers and local officials who’d been hoping that money could help with recovery. Hurricane Michael has racked up to a $25 billion tab. The state has only been able to make a tiny dent in that.

Senate Presient, Bill Galvano, says in order for the area to rebuild, cities, counties, and their residents need access to resources.

“There maybe some new opportunities now for better infrastructure in those areas. But, we need guidance because I feel like you have some portion of the population that may not come back from there. In all silos from education to health care, to hospital issues to schools that have holes in them.”

Galvano says the state will likely spend $2.7 billion of its own money on hurricane recovery and that could make funding the upcoming fiscal year challenging.

In an interview with sister-station WLRN in Miami, Congressman Neal Dunn said even with state help, there’s still other areas that are not being covered financially.

“Of course all of the military repairs to our air force base, our navy base, even the coast guard base those are not covered under the normal appropriations bill, FEMA, or HUD,” said Dunn.  

He and fellow North Florida Congressman Al Lawson are pushing congress to fund relief efforts. The U.S House is proposing a hurricane relief program, and Lawson says the program will be in the amount of $8.5 billion.

“As we pass to the house up in congress a stimulation plan which we are saying a hurricane relief program of about $8.5 billion dollars to help this area out. It hasn’t passed the senate yet. The senate is saying we might be able to put a little bit more money in it.”

Meanwhile, individuals giving to storm recovery has lagged behind other natural disasters.

Gabrielle Bolden is a fourth year broadcast journalism major attending Florida A&M University from Jacksonville, FL. Bolden is an aspiring multimedia producer. She previously served as a producer for News 20 at Five airing to at least 80,000 households, creating engaging content weekly. She pitched and wrote articles as a staff reporter for The FAMUAN Newspaper. She also produced the 2018 Election Night Special for News 20 at Five, covering state and local election races. Bolden interned for WCTV-Eyewitness News (CBS) producing a multimedia project covering the devastating wildfires in Eastpoint, Florida.