The Ugly Truth About Hurricane Irma and Maria
Irma Rebuild: Government Pulling Out All the Stops
The total amount of damage Hurricane Irma did in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and parts of South Carolina will not likely be completely understood for several months. But in the aftermath of Irma, it is being estimated that there is between $40 and $65 billion worth.
So devastating was the destruction that the U.S. Government’s Department of Labor (DOL) allotted $40 million in grants for workforces to repair Irma damage according to a recent ContructionEquipment.com report & this doesn’t even include Hurricane Maria. According to the report, the DOL will work in conjunction with both local and state agencies in the affected states and territories to begin the rebuild.
How Irma DOL Money Will Be Spent
The money will be used to rebuild both residential and businesses structures. In addition to Disaster Dislocation Worker Grants; wage and hour compensation services; and public service announcements. Also, the U.S. Government relaxed building codes and requirements for Irma stricken areas.
“The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is temporarily suspending select federal contractor requirements, allowing businesses involved in hurricane relief the ability to prioritize recovery efforts,” and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA), is taking similar measures to speed the rebuilding process, “Most OSHA programmed enforcement actions will cease in the affected areas to avoid disrupting recovery operations,” according to ConstructionEquipment.com.
Also, the secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, John Zachem, suspended a number of building regulations pertaining to roofing in the 37 Florida counties listed on FEMA’s Disaster Declaration according to the Miami Herald, “Roofing work need not be subcontracted from a certified or registered contractor to repair or install flat roofs or roofs made of wood shakes, asphalt, fiberglass shingles, tiles or metal.”
Keeping Insurance Companies in Check
A growing concern has drawn the attention of Florida Governor Rick Scott, the possibility that insurance companies will try to renege on their responsibilities to policyholders. In order to curb foul play, “Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday that directed Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier to take every action authorized pursuant to Executive Order 17-235 to provide additional protections to support recovery efforts as it relates to Hurricane Irma’s impact on Florida’s families.”
Part of the Gov. Scott’s executive order mandates that, “all cancellations issued to policyholders in the days leading up to Hurricane Irma are rescinded for 90 days.”
Supplementing Incomes for Workers Displaced by Irma
For those workers in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico displaced by Hurricane Irma, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has taken measures to assure people have money to spend on food and housing in the form of Disaster Unemployment Assistance according to ConstructionEquipment.com
In addition to government assistance, large corporations are also helping in the Irma rebuild effort according to CNN Money’s Jackie Wattles. Companies like Apple, Allstate, Bank of America, Disney, PetSmart, and Target have all committed to donating at least a million dollars. Verizon has promised to donate $10 million. Walmart committed to providing $30 million for Irma rebuild.
For more information on how to donate to the victims of Irma, Harvey, and Maria, the Business Insider comprised a list of The Best Charities to give to for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria: