RALEIGH, N.C. -- Only a few days remain to apply for disaster assistance.
Monday, December 8, is 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.
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.
"If you call after Monday, it will be too late," said Dr. Kenneth B. Taylor, North Carolina's coordinating officer for the disaster response. "Don't wait."
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.
Applications for long-term, low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration must also be completed and returned by Monday, December 8.
After the application deadline, FEMA's toll-free phone line will still 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 53,000 residents of the state have applied for aid, and $42.5 million in housing and other needs assistance has been distributed. This is part of the $141 million in federal and state dollars invested in long term recovery in North Carolina.
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.