Denton, TX -- Many Texas residents know that recovering from a disaster takes time. The process continues for residents in 18 Texas counties designated as federal disaster areas late last year. With hundreds of calls for assistance still coming in daily, officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety (DEM) have extended the application deadline to January 31, 2003.
President Bush approved federal disaster aid for Texas on November 6, 2002, after tornadoes struck Corpus Christi in late October. With flooding and severe weather in other parts of the state, the disaster grew to include 18 counties stretching from Orange County on the border with Louisiana to Cameron and Hidalgo counties on Texas' border with Mexico.
Sandy Coachman, FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer for this disaster, said, "We encourage residents and businesses affected by tornadoes and severe storms in the designated counties to call soon. We are committed to helping with the recovery process."
"We feel this extension will give those who may still be cleaning up more time to call," added Duke Mazurek, state coordinating officer for DEM.
Individuals who live in counties that have been declared eligible for assistance can still register by calling the FEMA toll-free number: 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired. The lines are open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
This extension applies to all 18 designated counties. Aransas, Brazoria, Cameron, Fort Bend, Hardin, Harris, Hidalgo, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Liberty, Montgomery, Nueces, Orange, San Jacinto, San Patricio and Walker.
Nearly 24,000 applicants have registered for assistance since President Bush authorized aid. FEMA/State of Texas assistance has totaled $40.3 million so far, and the Small Business Administration has made nearly $7.4 million in disaster loans to businesses and homeowners.