"Since its inception in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has served to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small businesses. While SBA is generally known for its financial support of small businesses, the Agency also plays a critical role in assisting the victims of natural and other declared disasters. Specifically, SBA provides disaster assistance through its Disaster Loan Program (DLP) to help homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes recover from disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and terrorist attacks. Subsequent to the Katrina, Rita, Wilma disasters (also known as the 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes) SBA experienced significant challenges in scaling up its capacity to respond to the loan applications of many disaster victims. The cumulative damage of the Gulf Coast disaster cycle caused damage that was so extensive that the number of resulting disaster loan applications overwhelmed SBA's capacity to process them. The storms caused nearly $100 billion in estimated damages and over 1,400 deaths.4 As of May 15, 2007, SBA had approved more than 160,000 disaster assistance loans for a total of $6.9 billion in net approved loans ($5.7 billion disbursed) to individuals and businesses since the 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes. SBA recognized the severe challenges that hindered its efforts to aid recovery, and has made dramatic improvements to its business processes. The Agency is prepared to process loans faster, provide better quality, and be more helpful to its customers in future disasters."
United States Small Business Administration: http://sba.gov