Olympia, WA -- Owners of homes and business buildings damaged by the February 28 Nisqually earthquake should not wait for an inspection before registering for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"Some people are under the impression they must contact a building inspector for an inspection before they contact FEMA. This is not true," said Bill Lokey, federal coordinating officer.
"We urge residents who think they have earthquake damage to call 1-800-462-9029 now to register for assistance, whether their building has been inspected or not," said Lokey. Hearing-or speech-impaired persons may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. The teleregistration service is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, until the deadline of April 30. It now is closed on Sundays.
Lokey said 107 buildings have had to be inspected a second time because of delayed damage that appeared after the first inspection. Teleregistrations are continuing to top 300 calls a day, he said. The registration total as of April 11 was 19,931.
Earthquake damage is more difficult to detect than that caused by other types of disasters, such as floods which leave visible marks. Quakes shake large areas but their damages may be far reaching and not limited to contiguous areas.
The counties eligible for assistance include Benton, Clark, Clallam, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Whatcom, and Yakima.
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).
Twenty-five tribal government reservations are included in the disaster area. They are the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Hoh Tribe, Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, Lower Elwha, Lummi Nation, Makah Tribe, Muckleshoot Tribe, Nisqually Tribe, Nooksack Tribe, Port Gamble Indian Community, Puyallup Tribe, Quileute Tribe, Quinault Nation, Samish Nation, Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, Shoalwater Bay Tribe, Skokomish Tribe, Snoqualmie Tribe, Squaxin Island Tribe, Stillaguamish Tribe, Suquamish Tribe, Swinomish Tribe, The Tulalip Tribes, Upper Skagit Tribe and the Yakama Nation.
FEMA disaster assistance covers only basic needs and will not normally compensate individuals for their entire loss. FEMA may help pay for basic needs not covered under insurance policies. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other help may be in the form of loans from SBA.
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.