LEBANON, Va. -- Federal disaster assistance approved to help Southwest Virginians recover from severe storms, flooding and tornadoes damages between May 24 and June 26, 2004, has reached more than $1 million, state and federal recovery officials said today.
Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said, “FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration and Commonwealth of Virginia funding for disaster recovery now amounts to $1,044,402.”
FEMA provides grants to the uninsured who should not or cannot live in their disaster damaged dwelling so they can obtain temporary housing. To date, grants totaling $895,002 have been approved for 482 households. The grants are tax free and do not have to be reported as income.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved low interest disaster loans totaling $140,400 to date. SBA low interest disaster loans are available to qualified renters, homeowners and businesses of all sizes.
Those who do not qualify for an SBA disaster loan may be referred to the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program. ONA provides grants to help with serious unmet needs such as damaged personal property, transportation and disaster related medical, dental or funeral expenses. To date, 10 households have been approved for $42,345 in ONA grants. The grants are tax free and do not have to be recorded as income.
Individuals and businesses in Tazewell, Russell, Buchanan and Lee counties are eligible to register for federal and state disaster assistance under President Bush’s June 15 disaster declaration. To date, 774 households from the four counties have registered. To register, call FEMA toll free at 1-800-621-3362. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.
Once registered, a visit to the Disaster Recovery Center at the Richlands Police Department building (old armory), 1851 Cranwell Drive, may be beneficial. It is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Saturday, July 10, the center opens at 9 a.m. and will close permanently at 1 p.m. Those who still have questions may contact the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.
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.