RAPID CITY, S.D. -- The first two travel trailers, supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will begin arriving at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on Thursday, June 24, according to FEMA disaster officials. Eight additional travel trailers are scheduled to arrive from Rapid City on Friday (June 25).
The 8 feet by approximately 30 feet travel trailers are being provided to residents of the Lakota Sioux Indian Tribe whose homes were completely destroyed by the tornadoes that struck the area June 4 -5. FEMA officials note that the travel trailers are temporary housing quarters and are being assigned, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to families currently being housed in tents. The need for additional travel trailers will be assessed by FEMA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs personnel.
FEMA officials emphasize that travel trailers are normally considered to be seasonal housing since they are not winterized, but are used as an interim source until more adequate housing is available.
Types of disaster housing assistance available to South Dakota disaster victims are: grants for emergency repairs to make the home livable, rental assistance for persons whose homes are uninhabitable and who have a resource available, and mobile homes for persons whose homes suffered major damage, but have no rental resources. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also are available to eligible applicants to repair or rebuild a primary residence to its pre-disaster condition.
"The provision of adequate long-term housing for Pine Ridge and Shannon County tornado victims is a top priority," said Pete Bakersky, federal coordinating officer for FEMA. "And while we are still assessing long-term solutions, we're pleased to be able to address the needs of these residents so quickly."
The first step in the disaster assistance process is for affected victims to register with FEMA via its toll-free number, 1-800-462-9029 (or 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- and hearing- impaired). The call is free, and trained telephone specialists will walk the caller through the application process.
To-date, more than 735 individuals have applied for disaster assistance with FEMA. Additional support is being provided through the Disaster Recovery Center located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A variety of federal, state, tribal and volunteer agency representatives are available at the center to answer questions about disaster programs.