Clanton, AL -- The final two federal-state disaster recovery centers, one in Tuscaloosa, the other in Gadsden, will close Saturday, January 13, at the end of the business day at 6 p.m. The Tuscaloosa center is located in the Old Fire College on McFarland Blvd. East and the Gadsden center is in the Coates Bend Volunteer Fire Department on Pull Tight Road.
The centers will have served seven counties--Cherokee, Etowah, Jefferson, Macon, Limestone, St. Clair and Tuscaloosa--included in the total of 11 Alabama counties declared a major disaster area by President Clinton in mid-December after tornadoes and severe storms left a path of destruction from one end of the state to the other.
Federal Coordinating Office John Hannah of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said there no longer is sufficient storm recovery business to keep the centers operating. Earlier a third center - located in Dale County - had served a similar function for four counties in the Southeastern corner of the state.
Hannah said that after the closings, persons in the affected counties who need information on disaster recovery programs or on the status of their application could obtain whatever they need by calling FEMA?s toll-free Helpline, 1-800-525-0321 (TTY 1-800-660-8005 for persons with hearing or speech impediments).
Director Lee Helms of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) urged storm victims to continue applying for assistance. The toll-free number to call to register for all types of disaster aid is 1-800-462-9029 (TTY 1-800-462-7585 for anyone with speech or hearing impairments).
Meantime, Don Waite of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) said the agency would continue its Gadsden and Tuscaloosa operations. The Disaster Loan Assistance Office in Gadsden will reopen Tuesday, January 16, and will be located at the same site as at present. In Tuscaloosa the operations will be relocated to the Disaster Field Office, 3076 Palisades Court. It also reopens Tuesday following the Monday holiday honoring Martin Luther King. Hours for both offices will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until further notice, except for Saturday when hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.