Hurricane Michael Marianna

Hurricane Michael destroyed several buildings in downtown Marianna.

Hurricane Michael left behind a trail of destruction in the Florida Panhandle, but $1.9 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds have assisted the recovery.

Michael made landfall near Panama City on Oct. 10, 2018, and blasted the area with Category 5 winds. The largest chunk of FEMA funding came through $644.7 million in Small Business Administration low-interest loans to businesses, homeowners and renters, according to a FEMA release.

Of that funding, $50.7 million has benefited 1,151 homeowners and renters and 74 businesses in Jackson County, which lies just south of Houston County.

“I think we’re on the other side,” Jim Dean, Marianna’s city manager, told the Jackson County Floridan recently. “It’s just going to take a long time, this recovery.”

Many homeowners suffered major damage in Jackson County. According to a presentation to the Jackson County Commission Tuesday, 66 new homes have been built in the county, while 2,442 had roof repairs.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers installed tarps on 839 roofs in Jackson County in an effort to buy homeowners time to make necessary repairs. FEMA documented 2,042 homeowners who have received money for basic home repairs as of Sept. 30.

Of the FEMA monies benefiting the Florida Panhandle overall, $496.6 million reimbursed local and state governments and private nonprofit groups for their recovery efforts. Of that, $29.4 million benefited entities in Jackson County.

Another $319.7 million provided residents with housing assistance and other needs, while the federal government paid out $224.1 million in National Flood Insurance Program claims.

Hurricane Michael generated 32.9 million cubic yards of debris, 7.5 million of which hailed from Jackson County.

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