Baton Rouge, LA -- Following the floods generated by Tropical Storm Allison, President Bush declared a federal disaster in Louisiana on June 11. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness (LOEP) have teams in the field inspecting damages and many disaster assistance programs are active. The disaster declaration covers 25 parishes.
Almost 26,500 people have registered for disaster assistance by calling FEMA's toll-free number: 1-800-462-9029. For those who are speech- or hearing-impaired, the TTY number is 1-800-462-7585. Teleregistration is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily.
Over $14 million has been disbursed to help individuals make emergency repairs to their homes or to find adequate temporary living space.
More than 2,700 people have sought help and disaster recovery information from six Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC). Four of these have been converted to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) workshops, one has closed, and one remains open until further notice. Specialists in the recovery center provide answers to applicant's questions and recovery information to those affected by Tropical Storm Allison. Current hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Sundays.
Recovery specialists take calls at the toll-free registration number from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., CDT, seven days a week until further notice. Anyone who suffered damages from Tropical Storm Allison is encouraged to register.
Inspectors are examining flood-damaged property of those who have registered for disaster assistance through the toll-free registration number. Nearly 19,300 housing inspections have already been completed.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available in 12 parishes through Louisiana Department of Labor Job Center Offices. This program provides unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not normally qualify for state benefits, such as farmers, farm workers, migrant farm workers and other self-employed individuals.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) personnel continue to review loan applications. If applications are not completed and returned it could delay further assistance. The SBA offers low interest loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses that have suffered uninsured or underinsured losses in the disaster. More than $13 million in loans have been approved.