Lynchburg, VA -- A third Disaster Recovery Center, this one in Wise, Wise County, is opening to assist people who suffered losses in February's severe winter storms and flooding.
FEMA announced the new center will open Monday, April 14, at 5701 Industrial Park Road in Wise (in an industrial park behind the Wise K-Mart store). Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
"We want to make sure that everyone who needs help to recover gets all applicable assistance," said Virginia State Coordinating Officer Michael Cline. "The Disaster Recovery Center will remain open as long as necessary, and additional centers will be opened if necessary."
The first step in obtaining recovery assistance is to call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) on weekdays, said Justo Hernandez, who heads up the federal disaster response effort for FEMA. Those with hearing or speech impairments can call TTY 1-800-462-7585. These numbers can be called either from homes or businesses or a FEMA disaster center.
Free transportation will be available between the Wise Disaster Recovery Center and locations in Wise County and the city of Norton. Pickups can be scheduled by calling Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc., in Big Stone Gap at 1-888-877-6748 or 1-276-523-7433. Dispatchers will schedule pickups and return trips between 8 a.m and 4 p.m. This service will not be available April 18-20 in observance of Easter. Transportation service will be available as long as the center is operational.
Visitors to the Wise center can learn about a variety of disaster-assistance programs, including temporary housing, funds for home repairs and other major disaster-related expenses. Counselors are available to provide personalized guidance on reducing flood risk to homes and businesses. Information also is available on low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. People can also get answers to questions about tax-related issues and crisis counseling.
President Bush declared a disaster for 22 Virginia localities on March 27. Federal, state and local teams are continuing to visit areas of Virginia to determine what help is needed by those struck by the winter storms and flooding.