LEBANON, Va. -- State and federal officials announce the opening of a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Richlands, Virginia, to assist residents of southwestern Virginia who suffered losses and damages from the severe storms that began on May 24.
The DRC will open Monday, June 21 in the Richlands Police Department building (the old Richlands Armory), 1851 Cranwell Drive. Hours of operation will be: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 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). Disaster assistance programs may cover some items not covered by insurance. 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 from the date of declaration, or until Aug. 16, 2004, to register for disaster assistance.
"Applying for assistance by calling the FEMA registration number is the first step to receiving help," said State Coordinating Officer Michael Cline. "We encourage everyone in the declared counties of Lee, Russell and Tazewell who suffered damages and losses from the storms 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 Tom Davies 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.