Nashville, TN -- Tennessee and federal officials encourage area residents who suffered damage or losses from the recent onslaught of severe storms, tornadoes and flooding to register for disaster assistance as soon as possible.
On May 8, President Bush declared 20 Tennessee counties eligible for a wide range of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state programs to help individuals and businesses recover from the devastation caused by storms that struck the state beginning May 4.
The teleregistration number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TDD) for persons with speech or hearing impairments. The toll-free application number is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.
FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer for the recovery operations, Michael Bolch, urged everyone in the declared counties who suffered disaster-related damage to begin the recovery process by registering without delay.
"Your registration is critical," explained Bolch. "We need to know who you are, where you are, and the type of damage you've sustained before we can see if you're eligible for a program that may help compensate for those losses."
John D. White, Jr., coordinating the state's recovery, cautioned residents not to assume they were registered because they had contacted the Red Cross or other agencies. "A call to FEMA is absolutely vital to be considered for aid," White said.
The various disaster assistance programs and services available include financial assistance to pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest disaster loans are available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.