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South tallies storm loss

Damage assessments continue across western Florida and parts of Alabama and Georgia.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | July 14, 2005

As damage assessments continue across western Florida and parts of Alabama and Georgia, recovery agencies say Hurricane Dennis added another layer of devastation.

According to Rebuild Northwest Florida (RNWF), Dennis' hardest impact area appears to be eastern Santa Rosa County and western Escambia County. Affected communities include Milton, Bagdad, Hay, Avalon, Tiger Point, Pensacola, Walnut Hill, Century, and Navarre Beach. RNWF is a long-term recovery organization formed after Hurricane Ivan devastated the region last September.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports more than 5,000 people have applied for assistance already. That number is expected to increase as the days pass.

Already help is pouring in to assist families hit by one or both of the hurricanes. The Christian Contractor's Association is bringing in volunteers to supply or reattach tarps to damaged roofs. RNWF said major needs right now include roofing materials and monetary donations to buy needed supplies. The organization says thousands of Hurricane Ivan repairs and rebuilds remain, and that Dennis worsened some and added more.

In Alabama, workers with the recovery agency Volunteer Mobile are standing by to assist families. So far, said one employee, not many calls have been received but they expect that to change as people start registering with FEMA.

The Salvation Army is also busy in Florida and Alabama. So far, the agency says they have served more than 10,000 meals in both states. They have also provided lodging for more than 450 people in Alabama.

According to the Florida State Emergency Response Team on Wednesday, 16 counties reported damage from Dennis and one shelter remains open in Santa Rosa County. More than 100,000 people remain without power as well.


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