West Salem, WI -- Widespread flooding in Texas and Louisiana may be having an impact on Wisconsin residents trying to call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toll-free registration and helpline numbers.
"We're especially concerned about residents of Bayfield County where Individual Assistance has just been approved for losses that occurred from severe weather and flooding in April," said Tom Davies of FEMA.
FEMA's telephone lines have been busy and you may have difficulty getting through. Flooding and storms also have caused disruptions in network service over which FEMA has no control.
"Please be patient and try to call at different times of the day," Davies said. "FEMA and other government agencies providing disaster aid will be in the area for as long as it takes to meet everyone's need." The toll-free registration number is 1-800-462-9029.
President Bush declared a major disaster in Wisconsin on May 11. Disaster assistance programs for individuals and businesses are available in 13 counties for uninsured losses because of severe storms and flooding between April 10 and May 29. The counties are Bayfield, Buffalo, Burnett, Crawford, Douglas, Grant, La Crosse, Pepin, Pierce, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vernon and Washburn.
"If you have not called FEMA to register, you have not applied for federal and state disaster assistance," said Al Shanks of Wisconsin Emergency Management. "We urge you to call and follow through with the application and keep an appointment with the inspector who will come to look at the damage."
Shanks said local emergency managers and community organizations such as the American Red Cross may have information about additional sources of help available.
"FEMA also has a toll-free number you can call with any questions you have after you register," Shanks said. The helpline number is 1-800-525-0321.
The TTY number for persons who are speech or hearing impaired is 1-800-462-7585 for both registration and the helpline. All numbers are in operation 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.