NEW CASTLE, Del. -- Disaster recovery teams are now in the field inspecting homes and businesses damaged in the recent flooding, according to Sean Mulhern with the Delaware Department of Emergency Management and Steven Adukaitis with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Individuals who have applied for disaster assistance can expect to hear from several different inspectors within the coming weeks.
"FEMA inspectors generally will schedule an inspection soon after registration to look at damaged property, and inspectors do not charge any fee," Mulhern said. "The Red Cross may also send inspectors to meet with disaster victims, and local building and safety inspectors may come to see if damaged structures are safe." Adukaitis added that the U.S. Small Business Administration will send loss verifiers to inspect damaged property of those who have submitted disaster loan applications.
Adukaitis cautioned residents about the inspections. "We advise applicants to ask for identification from everyone saying they are damage inspectors. All inspectors carry official photo identification. If an inspector is not wearing an identification card or badge, ask to see it."
At the request of Governor Thomas R. Carper, New Castle County was designated for "Individual Assistance" through a disaster declaration signed by President Clinton on Sept. 21. The declaration makes available a wide range of federal disaster assistance programs that could include financial assistance for those temporarily displaced by the flooding, low-interest loans to repair and replace real or personal property, and grants to help meet essential disaster-related needs not covered by other assistance programs.
Individuals and business owners who believe they have suffered losses in the flooding are urged to call FEMA's toll-free registration line at 1-800-462-9029 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week. The hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. are the heaviest and should be avoided. The registration line for persons who are hearing- or speech-impaired is TTY 1-800-462-7585.