WASHINGTON — Floods and hurricanes kept the Small Business Administration very busy in 2008 with the agency approving more than 20,100 disaster relief loans worth $1 billion.

In June, floods caused by heavy rains devastated parts of central Iowa and the upper Mississippi Valley. States affected by the floods included Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin, with Iowa being hardest hit. The SBA said it approved 7,821 disaster loans in the Midwest states for a total of $394 million.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Gustav pummeled south-central Louisiana and the Mississippi coast on Sept. 1. So far, 3,712 disaster loans have been approved for residents in the two states for a total of $104 million. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Ike made landfall at Galveston, Texas and caused widespread property damage in Houston before making its way to the Louisiana coast. The SBA has approved 8,622 disaster loans in Texas and Louisiana for a total of $502 million.

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