Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New estimate for flood-damaged houses

Emmett Mayer is doing a great job with graphics over at the Times-Picayune. The latest is a map of FEMA-designated flood areas accompanied by FEMA charts which show the distribution of the 108,500 severely-damaged homes inside and outside designated flood areas, segregated by homes with flood insurance, and those without.

Some of the facts from the accompanying article are:

  • An estimated 120,325 owner-occupied houses in Louisiana suffered flood damage. This estimate lowers the number of damaged houses by 47,000 from earlier estimates. The estimate was calculated by reworking "statistical models to remove assumptions that inflated the total."

  • More than 108,000 owner-occupied homes in Louisiana had "major or severe damage," defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as having taken on at least a foot of water. 101,283 of those houses (93 percent) are in the five-parish metro New Orleans area (no surprise).

  • 78,796 badly-flooded houses were inside FEMA-designated flood areas. 22,843 of these had no flood insurance coverage.

  • 22,487 badly-damaged homes were outside flood areas. Of those, 12,011 had no flood insurance.

  • 107,000 rental units sustained either major or severe damage.
A new plan is being promoted by Mayor Ray Nagin and four area parish presidents which would give owners of badly-damaged homes (remember the one-foot definition) three options:
  • The government will buy badly-damaged houses, compensating owners for 100 percent of the pre-storm value minus insurance settlements.

  • The government will pay owners 80 percent of the cost to rebuild their badly-damaged house, minus insurance settlements, if the house had flood insurance coverage.

  • The government will pay owners 60 percent of the cost to rebuild their badly-damaged house, minus insurance settlements, if the house had no flood insurance coverage.

  • The maximum government grant would be $150,000.
Missing from this proposal:
  • Homeowners who suffered damage from floods less than a foot in depth are excluded -- which is why Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard isn't agreeing to the plan.

  • Owners and occupants of the 107,000 badly-damaged rental houses aren't covered. Neither are rental properties that sustained less than a foot of flooding covered.


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