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corner of content windowHurricane Ivan News


DATE: September 16, 2004
TO: Interested Media
FROM: Jill Bratina, Governor's Communications Director
RE: Governor Bush's letter seeking a Major Declaration

Please find attached Governor Jeb Bush's letter to President George W. Bush seeking a Major Declaration for the State of Florida. If you need further assistance please call the Governor's Press Office at 850-488-5394.

# # #

September 15, 2004

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C.

Through: Ms. Mary Lynn Miller
Acting Director, Region IV
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Dear Mr. President:

Under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the "Stafford Act"), as implemented by 44 C.F.R. 206.36, I request that you declare an expedited major disaster for the entire State of Florida due to the statewide impact of Hurricane Ivan. According to current predictions by the National Hurricane Center, this event will inflict substantial damage to coastal communities in northwestern Florida from storm surge, high winds, torrential rainfalls, inland flooding, and tornadoes, very much as Hurricane Charley did four weeks ago and as Hurricane Frances did the week before last. I request 100 percent direct federal assistance and 100 percent assistance under the Public Assistance Program for Category A (Debris Removal) and Category B (Emergency Protective Measures) statewide for the first 72 hours, and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for the entire State of Florida. I also request Public Assistance (Categories C-G) and Individual Assistance for the following counties lying in the path of Hurricane Ivan that are likely to experience the impact of hurricane or gale force winds: Bay, Calhoun, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties. I am also requesting the full complement of Individual Assistance programs for these counties, to include the Individuals and Households Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Legal Services, and the Small Business Administration Disaster Loans Program.

Hurricanes Charley and Frances caused the death of more than 60 individuals and substantial loss of property in the State. We are only just beginning on the road to recovery from the effects of Hurricane Frances.
At present, nearly half of our counties have issued a local state of emergency. More than a dozen counties in the northwestern portion of the State have issued evacuation orders, closed schools and opened shelters or have shelters on standby. At the very outset, Hurricane Ivan grew into a Category 4 hurricane, and at intervals has intensified to Category 5, making it one of the strongest tropical cyclones in the last fifty years. According to the latest weather information, Hurricane Ivan is likely to make landfall on Thursday, September 16, 2004. Hurricane Ivan will likely come ashore on Florida's Panhandle as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane. In addition to its intensity, Hurricane Ivan is as large in diameter as Hurricane Frances, with hurricane-force winds extending over 100 miles from the center, and gale-force winds extending an additional 100 miles (Attachment 1). In addition, Hurricane Ivan will inundate coastal communities in the northwestern portion of the State, and will exacerbate flooding in rivers that are already swollen by abnormal summer rainfalls and Hurricane Frances. If it continues on its present course, Hurricane Ivan will generate tons of debris in northwestern Florida.

Because many of the residents of these coastal communities live in low-lying areas, many counties issued mandatory evacuations. On September 10, 2004, I issued Executive Order 04-206 declaring a state of emergency and activating the State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan to support the evacuation of these communities (Attachment 2). The beginning of the incident period
should therefore commence from September 10, 2004. Due to Hurricane
Frances, the State Emergency Operations Center has been at a Level 1 activation from September 1, 2004 to the present.

As with Hurricane Frances, all the Water Management Districts are monitoring the flood stages of the rivers in the State, and are standing by to take action. Other state agencies are putting their resources forward in response to this event. Emergency Support Function 8 (Health and Medical) is working with the County Health Departments to secure additional facilities and medical staffing for special needs shelters. Emergency Support Function 11 (Food and Water) is locating USDA commodities for distribution to the affected communities. Emergency Support Function 12
(Energy) is working with our utilities to restore power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses as well as ensuring an adequate supply of fuel for emergency responders and the public. The unprecedented series of natural disasters triggered massive evacuations, which in turn caused a severe spike in the demand for fuel. To prevent a life-threatening shortage of fuel, I issued Executive Order 04-196 and extended it for one week because of Hurricane Ivan (Attachment 3). The State is working with suppliers to ensure fuel continues to flow into the State from sea, rail and highway throughout the emergency relief and ongoing recovery efforts.

Emergency Support Function 14 (Public Information) has opened the Florida Emergency Information Line to give residents reliable information concerning the emergency. Emergency Support Function 16 (Law Enforcement and Security) is working with Emergency Support Function 13 (Military Support) to call on the National Guard organizations of other States to ensure security in the affected communities.

The State Coordinating Officer has been working with the Federal Coordinating Officer from FEMA on the response to Hurricanes Charley and Frances for almost five weeks. Given this unprecedented series of events and the presence of the massive federal infrastructure in the State needed for the response to these disasters, I urge you to designate the same official to the same position for Hurricane Ivan; this will ensure a seamless response to all three disasters, which have been rolled into a single event for purposes of recovery.

I have determined, in accordance with 44 C.F.R. 206.35, that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response and recovery actions are beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments, and that supplemental federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, ensure public health and safety, and lessen or avert the threat of a disaster. In response to the situation, I have taken appropriate actions under state law and directed the execution of the provisions of the State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan for the
duration of this event.

In accordance with 44 C.F.R. 206.208, the State of Florida agrees that with respect to direct federal assistance it will do the following:

1. Provide, without cost to the United States, all lands, easements and rights of way necessary to accomplish the approved work;
2. Hold and save the United States free from damages due to the requested work, and indemnify the United States from any claims resulting from such work;
3. Provide reimbursements to FEMA for the nonfederal share of the cost of such work in accordance with the FEMA-State Agreement; and
4. Assist the performing federal agency in all support and local jurisdictional matters.

In addition, I anticipate the need for debris removal, which poses an immediate threat to lives, public health, and safety. Pursuant to Sections 403 and 407 of the Stafford Act, the State agrees to indemnify and hold the United States harmless for any claims arising from the removal of debris or wreckage for this disaster. The State agrees that debris removal from public and private property will not occur until the landowner signs an unconditional authorization for the removal of debris.

I further hereby certify that State and local obligations and expenditures for this disaster will comply with all applicable cost sharing requirements. I have designated W. Craig Fugate, Director, Department of Community Affairs, Division of Emergency Management, as the State Coordinating Officer for this request. He will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on damage assessments and is authorized to provide any further information, assurances, requests, or justification on my behalf.


Jeb Bush


Last updated: July 08, 2005

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