Olympia, WA -- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) registration numbers for the Nisqually Earthquake soared to more than 40,000 during the four-month registration period that ended June 30, said state and federal officials. Disaster assistance in grants and low-interest loans currently stands at more than $113 million.
"This disaster resulted in astonishingly widespread damage," said State Coordinating Officer Diane Offord. "The extent of the damage became evident as declared counties grew from six to 22 and registration numbers reached record-breaking levels. The recovery process likely will continue for some time. Individuals who still have unmet disaster needs should contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-660-4124 or the Washington Faith-Based Earthquake Recovery Project at 1-888-707-1200."
In fact, officials say more registrations came in following the Nisqually Earthquake than for all other Washington disasters combined. The previous record-breaking disaster was the 1996 floods, which brought in 11,998 applications for assistance. Additionally, the $54 million approved for Individual Assistance grants to date is double the $27 million approved for the 1996 floods.
The quick action taken by state and federal officials helped jump start the recovery process. Washington State received a Presidential disaster declaration within a day. Within five days, the first FEMA checks for temporary disaster housing were cut. The first checks for low-interest disaster loans went out within a week of the declaration, according to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Official Rick Jenkins.
"Thanks to the exceptional partnership between the state and FEMA, we were able to help people start rebuilding for the future right away," said Federal Coordinating Officer Bill Lokey. "We've learned, during this recovery process that, although earthquake damages can be difficult to detect, they still can be dangerous. So people should rebuild wisely and take measures now to protect their property from future earthquakes."
In fact, 50 percent of the individual property damage caused by the Nisqually quake was to chimneys. Although chimney damage may seem minor, it can be fatal. As people rebuild for the future, officials urge them to keep in mind another earthquake of unknown magnitude could occur at any time, and it is wise to use techniques now to lessen damages.
"When you do something now to protect your property from future disaster damage, you save money," said Lokey. "It costs more to recover from a disaster as it does to prepare for one."
FEMA has set up a Mitigation Helpline, 1-800-838-7046, to answer questions on rebuilding and retrofitting for those who would like to protect their property from earthquake damage. This number is staffed 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The following information shows current total assistance numbers for the 22 declared counties and
24 Tribal Nations within the declared areas.
- Since the disaster declaration, $46.2 million in aid has been approved for temporary disaster housing assistance and minimal repair grants from the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Inspectors have completed 33,024 damage verifications in the declared
- The SBA has approved more than $64.6 million in low-interest loans to
homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes.
- The Individual and Family Grant program has approved $2.6 million for residents affected by the earthquake. Grants are to assist with serious disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance or other disaster program...