Sherwood, AR -- Renters, homeowners and business owners in 19 Arkansas counties are now eligible for a wide range of state, federal and voluntary disaster assistance programs that will address uninsured losses and unmet needs caused by storms, flooding and tornadoes from May 2nd through June 10th, 2003. A special toll-free telephone number is in operation for Arkansas residents in designated counties to apply for disaster assistance.
Those affected are encouraged to call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toll-free number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. The number for hearing and speech-impaired individuals is TTY at 1-800-462-7585.
"We urge homeowners, renters, and business owners to call and apply for assistance," said Sandy Coachman, federal coordinating officer for response and recovery efforts. "Any individual or business with storm related damage should take the first step in the recovery process by calling the 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) number."
"Since the disaster period on this event basically goes from early May to June 10th, it is extremely important that all individuals know that they must register with FEMA even though they have already registered with the State of Arkansas or the American Red Cross," said Richard Griffin, state coordinating officer. "The registration process through FEMA assures individuals that they will have access to all available federal and state disaster programs." FEMA does not duplicate benefits that applicants have received from other sources.
Government disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate homeowners, renters and individuals for their entire loss. If an individual has insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under their insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back while other help may be in the form of loans.
The following 19 counties have been added to the original 15 counties approved on June 6th for public assistance. The eligible counties for individual assistance are: Benton, Chicot, Cleburne, Columbia, Conway, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Faulkner, Fulton, Jackson, Lonoke, Nevada, Perry, Phillips, Poinsett, St. Francis, White, and Woodruff.