St. Paul, MN -- Twenty--two counties have been added to the disaster declaration issued by President Bush on May 16, making a total of 53 Minnesota counties eligible for some type of state and federal assistance as a result of the severe winter storms, flooding and tornadoes which began March 23.
People who suffered damage in the following newly--added counties are encouraged to apply for individual assistance by calling the toll--free application number 1 800 462--9029. The new counties eligible for individual assistance include: Aitkin, Big Stone, Carlton, Clay, Dakota, Kanabec, Lac qui Parle, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pine, Polk, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Sibley, Stearns, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wilkin and Wright. Some of these counties were listed in the original declaration for other forms of assistance.
Today's amendment to the disaster declaration also makes public assistance programs available to local governments and non--profit organizations in Aitkin, Becker, Benton, Brown, Carlton, Douglas, Kanabec, Kittson, Lake, Le Sueur, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Nicollet, Otter Tail, Pine, Pope, Scott, Sibley, Stearns and Wright. With this designation, federal funds are made available to state and local governments in the specified counties for the repair and replacement of disaster--damaged public facilities.
"These additions to the declaration were made following a review of damage assessment information submitted by the Minnesota Division of Emergency Management regarding costs and damages suffered by local residents and communities as a result of the severe storms and flooding," James Roche, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) federal coordinating officer, said.
A toll--free application telephone number is now operational for those in the newly declared counties for individual assistance who suffered property damage or loss from the severe winter storms, flooding and tornadoes. This number can be used to apply for a wide range of state and federal disaster assistance programs such as funding for disaster housing assistance, U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low--interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary expenses not met by other programs.
Roche said those impacted may apply for assistance immediately by calling the toll--free registration number, 1--800--462--9029, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, until further notice. Those with a speech or hearing impairment may call a special TTY number at 1--800--462--7585.
"Phone--in application has proven to be the simplest, quickest and most efficient way to apply. Your phone call is your application for state and federal assistance available under the disaster declaration," said Kevin Leuer, state coordinating officer and director, Minnesota DEM. When calling to apply, have the following information available to cut down on application processing time:
- Your current phone number.
- Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
- Your Social Security number, if available.
- A general list of damages and losses you suffered.
- Good directions to the property that was damaged.
- If insured, your insurance policy number, or the agent's and company name.
- General financial information.
According to Roche, individuals who have suffered damage or loss and have unmet needs are encouraged to call the application number immediately. "Even if you don't have all the information necessary or it was lost in the flooding or storms, don't hesitate to call and don...