Raleigh, NC -- The deadline to apply for disaster aid stemming from Hurricane Isabel has been extended to December 8.
"We are still getting hundreds of people registering every day," says Gracia Szczech, the official coordinating the federal disaster response. "We don't want anyone with uninsured damage to their home or business to miss the chance to register. That's why we are extending the deadline."
December 8 will now be the last day for residents to apply for state and federal disaster assistance to help them recover from Hurricane Isabel and the severe storms and flooding that ravaged central and eastern North Carolina during September 18th through 26th, 2003. December 8 will also now be the deadline for completing applications for long-term, low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration.
All that is required to apply for disaster assistance is one toll-free phone call to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired.
"This extension will help make sure everyone has a chance for assistance," said Dr. Kenneth B. Taylor, North Carolina's coordinating officer for the disaster response. "Call soon. This recovery money can help both you and your community recover."
Assistance is available to any eligible resident of the 47 designated North Carolina counties who suffered uninsured or under-insured losses due to the hurricane and other severe storms.
The 47 designated counties are: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Davidson, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Gates, Granville, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Person, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell, Vance, Wake, Warren, Washington, Wayne and Wilson.
After the application deadline, FEMA's toll-free phone line still will be available to assist those who have already registered. Applicants who have questions about the disaster assistance programs or questions about the status of their previously filed applications should continue to use FEMA's toll-free number.
To date, more than 49,163 residents of the state have applied for aid, and $38.8 million has been distributed.
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 Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.