Indianapolis, IN -- A toll-free application telephone number is now operational for those who suffered property damage or loss in the declared counties affected by the severe storms and flooding that occurred from April 28 thru June 7, 2002. Even if residents have already registered for a loan application with the U.S. Small Business Administration, they need to register with the FEMA teleregistration number to be eligible for federal and state programs.
Gracia Szczech, Federal Coordinating Officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Patrick R. Ralston, State Coordinating Officer, Indiana Emergency Management (SEMA), said those affected by the disaster may apply for assistance immediately by calling this toll-free application number, 800-621-FEMA (3362), between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (EST) seven days a week until further notice. Those with speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 800-462-7585.
In response to a request from Governor Frank O'Bannon, President Bush signed a major disaster declaration on June 13. The declaration designated the counties of Dubois, Gibson, Hamilton, Marion, Martin, Pike, Posey and Vigo eligible for federal aid to help meet the recovery needs of stricken residents and business owners. 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, and grants for serious need and necessary expenses not met by other programs.
"Residents and businesses that suffered damage or loss and have insurance coverage should first contact their insurance company," said Ralston. "If you find that you have unmet needs, we encourage you to apply for disaster assistance by calling FEMA's toll-free teleregistration line."
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's and company name
- General financial information
According to Ralston, 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 flooding, don't prejudge your eligibility," he said. "It's important that all residents get the assistance they are entitled to."
The June 13 disaster declaration also makes funds available to the state and to affected local governments to cover 75 percent of eligible costs for restoring damaged public facilities and infrastructure in the counties of Brown, Crawford, Dearborn, Dubois, Franklin, Gibson, Greene, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Martin, Montgomery, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Sullivan, Switzerland, Union, Vermillion, Vigo and Washington. In addition, the declaration makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM INFORMATION
When disaster strikes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administers a number of disaster assistance programs and coordinates the efforts of many other federal agencies that provide services to help people through the recovery process. The types of assistance that are available follow: