Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida on Sept. 10 as a Category 3 storm after leaving a trail of destruction through the Caribbean, including significant devastation throughout the Leeward, U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Haiti.

Irma killed at least 92 people in the United States, and 134 overall as is swept through the Caribbean and up the Gulf Coast. Irma was the fifth costliest hurricane on record with a damage estimate of $53.4 billion in the continental U.S. Its total devastation was nearly $65 billion including damage in the Caribbean.

In addition to damaging homes and businesses, Irma knocked out power to more than four million people in the United States.

Irma also significantly affected tourism in the Florida Keys, which was closed to visitors until Oct. 1. FEMA officials said virtually every home on the chain of islands was affected by Irma, with nearly a quarter of the residences destroyed.

The storm caused widespread flooding along Florida’s west coast and significant damage from the Keys through Georgia.

Some residents in the Keys were still reeling from the disaster more than a year later. Artists, musicians and retirees in islands struggled to find affordable housing after Irma destroyed an estimated 7 percent of homes in the Keys. In one example, a 74-year-old woman lost her mobile home to storm surge, and she estimates it would cost more than $200,000 to rebuild on a raised foundation.

FEMA made emergency declarations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Florida and Georgia.

Irma victims have received the following financial assistance:

  • More than $1 billion from FEMA, including nearly $700 million in housing assistance
  • $128 million from 241 private donors

CDP’s Hurricane Irma Recovery Fund raised $1.4 million for recovery in Florida and the Caribbean. CDP began distributing funds in July 2018 to seven organizations with projects ranging from home repairs for minority and vulnerable populations in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties to train 25 Community Emergency Response Team members that will respond to future disasters.

Critical needs in the Caribbean:

  • Long-term recovery
  • Infrastructure and network repairs

Major Disaster declarations were made in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Emergency declarations have been issued in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. In Florida, 30 shelters remain open with 1,900 occupants.

Critical needs in the U.S.:

  • Long-term business recovery
  • Infrastructure repair


If you are a responding NGO or a donor, please send updates on how you are working in this crisis to anna.hurt@disasterphilanthropy.org.

If you are a donor looking for recommendations on how to help in this crisis, please email regine.webster@disasterphilanthropy.org.

Learn More

  • Follow the National Hurricane Center updates.
  • The Florida Philanthropic Network has created a resource page.