With Irene not quite out of the United States yet, insurance claims filing have begun for several homeowners. According to preliminary estimates by Kinetics Analysis Corporation, the total damage caused by Hurricane Irene may reach $7 billion, an estimate that would make Irene among the 10 costliest disasters in American history.
According to the most recent government model, projected economic loss from wind damage alone is forecast to top $1 billion. That’s less than earlier estimates that topped $2 billion but it does not account for flood and other storm damage.
The mid-Atlantic and New England account for about 16 percent of the nation’s economic output and about 14 percent of its workforce.
Insured losses in Hurricane Irene’s wake across the Carolinas were estimated Sunday between $200 million and $400 million by Eqecat, a company in Oakland, CA that models the effects of natural disasters.
In the Caribbean, Irene caused an estimated $500 million to $1.1 billion worth of damage.
Today, President Barack Obama granted Puerto Rico federal aid. Here is the official release.
The President today declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and ordered federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by Hurricane Irene beginning on August 21, 2011, and continuing.
The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the municipalities of Caguas, Canóvanas, Carolina, Cayey, Loíza, Luquillo, and San Juan.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding also is available to commonwealth and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Hurricane Irene in the municipalities of Aguas Buenas, Carolina, Cayey, Ceiba, Comerío, Juncos, Las Marías, Luquillo, Morovis, Naguabo, Orocovis, Utuado, Vega Baja, and Villalba.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire commonwealth.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Justo Hernández as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and additional municipalities may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed.
This year has already tied 2008 with the most billion-dollar weather disasters. The A. M. Best Company, which rates the economic strength of insurers, called the level of natural disasters this year “unprecedented” in a report on the American insurance industry issued last week.
In 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), paid out more than $11 billion in claims after Hurricane Katrina via the National Flood Insurance Program. Hurricane Katrina, overall, caused $133.8 billion in damages and more than 1,800 fatalities.
LIVE: Hurricane Irene radar and satellite loops
LOOK: Photo gallery of Irene’s damage
WATCH: Category 2 Hurricane Irene over the Bahamas from chessprincess1
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