RICHMOND, Va. -- State and federal officials announce the opening of a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Bluefield, Virginia to assist those who suffered losses and damages from severe storms that occurred November 18-19. The DRC, will open tomorrow December 11, at noon. The center will be located in the Kroger Plaza, Bldg. 713, S. College Avenue, Bluefield, Va. Hours of operation will be: Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. until further notice.
If you are insured, call your insurance company first then register with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Some items not covered by insurance may be covered by disaster assistance programs. To register with FEMA, call the toll-free number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). People with hearing or speech impairments may call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Those needing assistance from FEMA have 60 days to register from the date of declaration, or until February 7, 2004 to register for disaster assistance.
“Applying for assistance by calling the FEMA registration number is the first step to receiving help from federal and state programs,” said State Coordinating Officer Michael Cline. “We encourage everyone in the declared jurisdictions who suffered damages and losses from the storms of November 18-19 to register. Those with questions can then visit the DRC to talk with recovery specialists.”
Representatives from FEMA, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide information on disaster recovery programs. Additionally, the SBA will be available to help those affected fill out applications for low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and businesses.
Federal Coordinating Officer Louis Botta urges those with questions to visit the center. “Recovery centers are a great resource for people who would like to ask questions about their applications, update their information or get face-to-face help.”
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.