Syracuse, NY -- Six Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) will open in Chemung, Columbia, Greene, Montgomery, Ontario and Steuben counties to assist individuals affected by the recent storms, flooding and tornadoes, state and federal officials announced today. Most of the DRCs will open Monday, September 22 at 9 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. The complete DRC schedule is attached.
"The first step to getting the assistance that most people need to recover from the summer storms is only a twenty-minute, toll-free telephone call away," said Justo Hernández, FEMA federal coordinating officer. FEMA's registration number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The hearing or speech impaired should call 1-800-462-7585 (TDD). Both lines are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., seven days a week. "Once you register, you can either call our toll free number again or visit the recovery center nearest you to provide additional information about your claim or to have questions answered," Hernandez added.
The DRCs are designed to move from place to place within the disaster-damaged areas, enabling officials to meet with residents face-to-face to answer their questions, provide recovery information and written material about the different assistance programs available for individuals and business owners and to help them complete low-interest loan applications issued by the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Experts will also be available to give advice on how to avoid future damages.
At the request of Governor George E. Pataki, President Bush signed a major disaster declaration on August 29, 2003 to provide assistance to Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chemung, Columbia, Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Livingston, Montgomery, Ontario, Rensselaer, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates, the counties affected during the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that hit the State between July 21 and August 13, 2003.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizens Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.