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Here's what FEMA is paying to help Maui recover from the fires

The agency has approved more than $5.6 million in aid so far, a figure that is expected to grow sharply.
Here's what FEMA is paying to help Maui recover from the fires
Posted at 8:55 PM, Aug 18, 2023

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday said it's approved more than $5.6 million in aid for survivors of the wildfires in Maui, with the total expected to grow sharply as the scope of the disaster comes into focus.

Making up that total is $1.6 million in rent assistance paid so far, costs of housing survivors in hotels, and a one-time payment of $700 per household for essentials like food and clothing.

Wind-driven fires destroyed much of the town of Lahaina in Maui, consuming or damaging thousands of structures. The extent of the damage means FEMA's aid totals are likely to increase by a significant amount.

For comparison, after fire destroyed the city of Paradise in California in 2018, FEMA paid $238 million in total assistance.

SEE MORE: Lost Island: The Maui Wildfires

FEMA will open a recovery center in Maui to speed up its aid distribution. It says survivors will need to register to be eligible for most aid. Some 4,400 individuals had applied for critical need assistance by midweek.

Longer-term aid will likely come with requirements for documentation. Officials say FEMA will continue rental assistance, and may offer repair or property reimbursement to help residents whose insurance may not cover it all.

Disaster risk modeling firm Karen Clark & Company projected that the Lahaina fire caused some $3.2 billion in insured losses, according to figures cited by The Associated Press. 

The Small Business Administration is offering businesses and nonprofits low-interest disaster loans. Renters and homeowners may also be eligible for loans of up to $100,000 to replace destroyed property, and up to $500,000 for damaged or destroyed real estate.

SEE MORE: Here's how you can help Maui residents amid deadly wildfires

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