OWENSBORO, Ky. -- Seniors and people with disabilities living in the four Kentucky counties declared a major disaster area because of the recent tornadoes, severe storms, torrential rains and flash flooding that occurred Jan. 3-4 may need extra help receiving disaster assistance, state and federal disaster officials said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) are working to provide that help in Daviess, Crittenden, Webster and Hopkins counties.
"Disaster conditions can create special hardships for seniors and complications for people with disabilities," said W.R. Padgett, KYEM Director. "They may not have registered for disaster assistance or know how to register, and may need extra help in getting assistance."
Individuals with special needs may be identified through several channels, including referrals from FEMA's toll-free registration line, Helpline and Community Relations teams, as well as state, local, and voluntary agencies working during a disaster.
Once referrals are received, the state-FEMA Special Needs Office promptly contacts individuals and works with them on a case-by-case basis to get them the help they need.
Padgett urges neighbors or friends to reach out to seniors or persons with disabilities affected by the winter storms and encourage them to register for assistance by calling FEMA's toll-free number at 1-800-462-9029 or 1-800-462-7585 for persons with speech or hearing impairments. The lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. "Applicants should be sure to mention any special needs they have with regards to age or disability," Padgett said. "That's the best way to get extra help moving quickly."
Anyone who has already registered with FEMA and who needs extra help with the many recovery tasks, is encouraged to call the FEMA toll-free Helpline. The Helpline is 1-800-525-0321 (TTY 1-800-660-8005), available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.