Gulfport, MS -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will open the first of three fixed-site Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC), 8:00 a.m., Friday, October 11, to assist storm victims who have registered for assistance following the severe weather occurring between September 23 and October 6, 2002.
The DRC will be located in the Gaston Hewes Recreational Center, 2608 17th Street, Gulfport, MS. Parking will be available on the north side of the building. Hours of operation will be 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., everyday until further notice.
Two additional fixed-site centers are scheduled to open within the next few days, one in Hancock County and the other in Jackson County. Also planned is a mobile DRC to provide assistance to those outlying communities located in the other declared counties.
The DRC will be staffed with representatives of federal, state and voluntary agencies who will provide information and answer questions about available federal and state assistance. Homeowners, renters and business owners who were affected by the recent severe weather may be eligible for a variety of state-federal disaster assistance programs.
FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer, Michael Bolch, and Leon Shaifer, MEMA State Coordinating Officer, are urging anyone who has suffered losses or damages as a result of the severe weather during the September 23 through October 6 period, to register by calling FEMA's toll-free registration line, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Should applicants need additional information regarding the status of their application, they should visit one of the DRCs for further help. "The Disaster Recovery Centers will be available as long as necessary to help the people of Mississippi recover from this disaster," Bolch said.
Shaifer added, "A variety of federal, state and voluntary agency programs are available for homeowners, renters and business owners affected by the disaster. Now is the time to find out about these programs and begin the process of recovery. To date, we've had more than 1200 Mississippians apply for disaster assistance."
To begin the application process, call toll-free, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with hearing or speech impairments may call TTY 1-800-462-7585 to apply.