Olympia, WA -- According to disaster officials, residents and businesses have begun to register for disaster assistance in eight additional Washington counties since they were declared on March 16. Cowlitz, Island, Jefferson, Pacific, Skagit, Skamania, Wahkiakum and Yakima counties were made eligible for federal aid due to the Nisqually Earthquake that occurred on Feb. 28.
"Our preliminary assessments indicated enough significant damage to declare those eight additional counties a federal disaster area," said Federal Coordinating Officer Bill Lokey.
The inclusion of these counties makes a total of 16 counties in the disaster area, joining Grays Harbor, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston. Grays Harbor and Skagit County (already designated for Individual Assistance) are now also designated for Public Assistance. All counties in the State of Washington were previously designated for Hazard Mitigation assistance.
State and federal officials urge disaster victims in all the declared counties to call the registration number at 1-800-462-9029 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. To date, 10,366 residents have registered for disaster assistance through FEMA's toll-free registration.
Residents and businesses in these counties may be eligible for disaster relief programs including grants for temporary housing from FEMA, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for affected homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes.
Following a disaster, SBA provides the primary source of federal assistance for private sector losses through its disaster loan program. Victims should not delay in filing an application for SBA assistance.
Residents in the declared counties also may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) through the Washington State Employment Security Department. Weekly benefits may be provided for those out of work due to the Nisqually Earthquake, including self-employed persons, farm/ranch owners and others not covered by regular unemployment. Residents out of work due to the disaster may call 1-866-416-7274 to apply.