By: Cindy Wirz, Community Education and Outreach Specialist for FEMA Region VI Mitigation
Dallas, Kaufman and Tarrant counties in Texas experienced an outbreak of 17 tornados in early April. Widespread damage, ranging from minimal to severe, was reported along with multiple injuries. Governor Rick Perry declared a state disaster on April 3 and on April 17, the U.S. Small Business Administration granted a disaster declaration.
Even though there wasn’t a FEMA declaration, the agency wanted to inform residents and business owners about rebuilding safer and stronger. This was accomplished by working closely with the SBA, Region vi External Affairs and Mitigation.
Six different fact sheets on rebuilding stronger after the tornados were provided to the SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in Lancaster, Forney and Kennedale. As federal partners, SBA embraced the opportunity to talk about potential mitigation measures that may be taken by those rebuilding.
The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center issued a rare high-risk warning several days ahead of the April 14 storms that struck Woodward, Okla.
After the storms, SBA also granted a disaster declaration in Woodward and the neighboring counties of Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Major and Woods.
A DLOC recently opened in Woodward. FEMA Region VI Mitigation, in cooperation with SBA, sent the same fact sheets to Oklahoma as were provided to the SBA loan centers in Texas.
In addition to loans to repair physical damages, SBA can also lend additional funds for mitigation to homeowners and businesses to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future. This money can supplement the amount of an approved loan, but may not exceed 20 percent of total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA to a maximum of $200,000 for home loans.
Together, SBA and FEMA are providing invaluable customer service, resources and information to those who have been impacted by the recent severe storms.
(Pictured left to right: Alex Contreras, PIO; Margaret Messer, SBA Reservist; Cindy Wirz, FEMA Community Education and Outreach) Photo by: Jacqueline Chandler, External Affairs Specialist, FEMA R6.