RALEIGH, N.C. -- Only two weeks remain 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.
The deadline to apply for assistance is December 8, 2003.
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.
"Failure to apply will close the door on a whole range of federal and state disaster assistance programs, including low-interest loans from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA)," said Dr. Kenneth B. Taylor, North Carolina's state coordinating official for long-term disaster recovery. "December 8 is also the last day to return completed SBA loan applications. It is essential to return those applications to be eligible for other possible grants."
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.
Gracia Szczech, FEMA's federal coordinating officer for disaster recovery, added, "Anyone who incurred storm damage is urged to register, even if their property was insured. They can protect their right to receive assistance in case hidden damage appears after they reach a settlement with their insurance company."
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.
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.