President Bush declares FEMA Assistance for countyBY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER
Residents have 60 days to registerThe State’s request for federal assistance was approved by President George W. Bush on Dec. 12 to residents and business owners who suffered damages from the Nov. 2-11 flooding and severe storms.Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been hard at work in 12 counties throughout Washington State.
The 12 counties named for Public Assistance are: Chelan, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, King, Lewis, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish and Wahkiakum. All but Chelan, Jefferson and Pacific counties are also declared for Individual Assistance. This declaration will provide funding to the qualifying counties in the form of financial assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged public facilities, including roads, bridges, schools, and other public entities.
FEMA PIO (Public Information Officer) Ron Oberg says the best thing people can do is register and apply with FEMA for recovery assistance.
Residents and business owners have 60 days from the date of declaration to register with FEMA for assistance.
This can be done locally at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe where FEMA has setup personnel to assist flood victims with registration, and filling out their applications properly.
FEMA representative Sheldon Tarasut says, “We’re open, we’re here to help.”
Patty Clarke also of FEMA encourages all to come in, and says that accurate information is very important.
FEMA is there to assist in any way possible, even if it’s not damage related, they may be able to point citizens in the right direction to get the help they need.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is also available at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds site for assistance if needed.
The U.S. SBA has low-interest loans for homeowners, renters, businesses of any size, and nonprofit organizations.
Made available from the SBA are low-interest loans of up to $200,000 to fix or replace homes owned by individuals, and up to $40,000 for the repair or replacement of damaged property that belongs to homeowners or renters.
Larger loans as high as $1.5 million are available to businesses of any size.
Residents are encouraged to check with their insurance agents for the type of policy they hold, and what is and is not covered under their policy.
“It’s crucial to begin the recovery process right away,” said George Currin, FEMA national flood insurance program group supervisor.
He also reminds residents to call their insurance agents with their policy number, and an adjuster should be assigned to them in a few days.
Clarke adds that FEMA does not duplicate any funds that are covered by insurance policies.
Applications are processed as quickly as possible, but if there is any property damage, an inspector must first visit the site to verify the damage and losses.
According to reports from Oberg, 238 Snohomish County and 57 Skagit County residents have registered for assistance through FEMA.
Of those numbers, 62 people have registered and filed their application at the Evergreen Fairgrounds site as of December 27.
Residents can contact FEMA at, 1-800-621-FEMA, or by visiting www.FEMA.gov for more information, or to begin their registration process.
Registering with FEMA is the only way to receive federal disaster recovery help.