FEMA flood relief applications rolling in

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already taken over 1,000 individual applications for assistance following Thursday’s record flooding, with many more requests for help expected.

“Inspectors are on the ground right now,” said FEMA deputy division director Mike Senycz.  “We’ll show up within the next couple of days.”  At least 250 FEMA representatives are currently in the state for inspections, damage assessments and assistance.

Individuals can qualify for immediate cash assistance to pay for rent, temporary housing or home repairs with a maximum payment of $33,000 per family. Senycz said the assistance is designed to “get you back on your feet, but we cannot make you whole.”

Applicants may also be eligible for low interest loans through the Small Business Administration.  Flood victims can register for individual assistance or loans by calling FEMA at 1-800-621 FEMA (3362) or apply on line at www.DisasterAssitance.Gov     .

Meanwhile, FEMA is trying to determine if additional counties will be added to the disaster declaration that already includes Kanawha, Nicholas and Greenbrier. FEMA inspectors, along with state and local officials, are touring Clay, Fayette, Monroe, Roane and Summers Counties today and will be in Pocahontas and Webster tomorrow.

“You’ll see FEMA folks out there,” Senycz said. “We’re surveying to see if the county will be designated.”  From there, it will be up to FEMA to make a recommendation to the President for a disaster declaration.

He said it could take a couple of days before the other counties are added. In the meantime, flood victims in those counties should go ahead and register with FEMA for assistance to start the process.  Applicants will be notified through the mail or at one of the FEMA disaster recovery centers that will be set up in the affected counties to see if they qualify.  They can also call back the FEMA disaster assistance number.  “It happens rather quickly in terms of the money showing up,” Senycz said.

Additionally, there are now coordinated volunteer disaster relief efforts.  Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (WVVOAD) is providing assistance for those who need help cleaning out or gutting their homes.  Contact WVVOAD at 800-451-1954.

WVVOAD is also assisting in coordinating donations at www.wvvoad.org and individuals interested in volunteering can go to www.volunteerwv.org.


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