Feb 20, 2024 - News

San Diego gets FEMA disaster designation

Two men man shovel debris and mud into a red wheelbarrow outside a flooded home.

Family members clean mud from a home damaged by flooding. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

President Biden declared the January rainstorm a "major disaster" Monday, opening up federal financial assistance for San Diego County.

Why it matters: The federal money will help the city recover from the severe storms and floods that damaged property and threatened lives across the region.

Details: Residents and business owners can get assistance from FEMA, including grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other resources aimed at helping the city's hard-hit southeastern neighborhoods.

  • Federal funding is also available for "hazard mitigation measures" statewide, according to FEMA.
  • A regional Joint Field Office and "Disaster Recovery Centers" will be set up in the most impacted communities, per Mayor Todd Gloria.

What they're saying: After weeks of assessing damage, providing local resources and advocating for this designation, "we can focus on the long-term rebuilding efforts from this natural disaster," Gloria said in a statement.

Be smart: Affected individuals and business owners can apply for assistance, even if they're insured, by registering online, calling 1-800-621-3362 or using the FEMA App.

What we're watching: The historic downpour exposed the city's failing and underfunded stormwater infrastructure, which city officials have said requires a dedicated funding source and major capital projects to fix.


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