Little Rock, AR -- In the twelve weeks since the first of two ice storms blasted the majority of Arkansas counties, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $77 million in disaster assistance.
Since the Presidential declaration on December 29, 2001, people in 65 Arkansas counties became eligible to apply for federal disaster assistance programs. Debris removal assistance was offered to 65 counties.
"The financial assistance that has gone to Arkansas residents from federal programs, along with aid from the State of Arkansas and local governments, has made a significant impact in helping individuals and communities recover from the December ice storms, " Federal Coordinating Officer Joe D. Bray said.
As of March 8, FEMA has obligated $62.2 million in disaster assistance for debris clearance and repairing infrastructure. The program gives financial help to local and county governments and some non-profit agencies covered under a Presidential disaster declaration. The funds are distributed by the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM).
Other totals, as of the close of business March 7, 2001:
- FEMA has issued $10,114,849.09 in disaster housing assistance checks to 11,238 residents. These are grants to assist individuals and families whose primary residences were damaged or destroyed by the December ice storms.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved 862 loans for homeowners, renters and businesses totaling $5,489,400.
- State disaster relief officials have approved payment of 1,716 checks totaling $1,636,826 to help people meet serious disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by other disaster assistance programs or insurance. This program is funded 75 percent by FEMA and 25 percent by the state.
- The Arkansas Department of Employment Security has approved disaster unemployment claims totaling $286,367 to 803 applicants.
- FEMA has received 40,084 individual applications for disaster assistance. Individuals, families and businesses can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-525-0321 if they have questions about their applications. For the speech and hearing impaired, the number is 800-462-7585. The Helpline is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.