Washington, DC -- A toll-free application telephone number is now operational for those who suffered property damage or loss in the declared counties affected by the recent series of severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck the southern end of the state beginning April 21, 2002. Even if resident have already registered with the Red Cross, Salvation Army or another voluntary agency or have reported
damage to local officials, they need to apply for the state and federal assistance now available by calling FEMA's toll-free number.
Robert R. Colangelo, federal coordinating officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA and Mike Chamness, state coordinating officer, Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), said those affected by the disaster may apply for assistance immediately by calling this toll-free application number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
Those with speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 1 800 462-7585.
In response to a request from Governor George Ryan, President Bush signed a major disaster declaration On May 21. The declaration designated 30 counties eligible for federal aid to help meet the recovery
needs of stricken residents and business owners.
The counties are: Alexander, Clay, Clinton, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, St. Clair, Saline, Union, Washington, Wayne, White and Williamson.
The declaration makes residents of these counties eligible for a wide range of 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.
Residents and business owners that suffered damage or loss and have insurance coverage should first contact their insurance company. If they find they have unmet needs, they should apply for disaster assistance.
"Your phone call is your application for state and federal assistance available under the disaster declaration. Telephone application has proven to be the simplest, quickest and most efficient way to apply," Colangelo said.
When calling to apply have the following information available:
- 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 and company name; and,
- General financial information.
Government disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of loans. The FEMA representative will explain the details to you when you call.
According to Chamness, individuals who have suffered damage 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 storms, don't prejudge your eligibility," he said. "It's important that all resident...