SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands -- Registration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the necessary first step in recovery for those persons in Saipan, Tinian and Rota who suffered damages from Super Typhoon Chaba beginning August 21 and ending August 23.
Federal Coordinating Officer William Lokey of FEMA emphasized that "federal help can be received only after eligible persons with damages on the three islands included in the presidential disaster declaration have made the call to FEMA on the teleregistration line."
Persons who suffered uninsured damages from the disasters should call the toll-free teleregistration number 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362). Persons with hearing or speech impairments should call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Registered applicants can use those same numbers with questions regarding the status of their requests. The toll-free numbers will be available for registrants from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
"It is crucial that those with disaster-related damages register through the teleregistration number promptly so the CNMI can work with FEMA to help families and businesses get back on their feet," said Governor's Authorized Representative Vicky Villagomez. "Even though they have insurance, they could be eligible for assistance for some of the damage not covered by insurance."
FEMA officials reminded applicants that before making the registration call, they should have available pen and paper to record information, a list of all occupants, a list of damages, address of the damaged property and where mail can be received, social security number, estimated gross household income, any insurance information and a telephone number where they can be contacted by an inspector. Interviews will take approximately 20-30 minutes. The applicants should make specific and detailed notes and photographs of the damage. Records should be kept of any out-of-pocket expenses made relative to disaster damages.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans are the primary source of disaster assistance for homeowners, renters, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Individuals registering for disaster assistance with FEMA, who are referred to SBA, must pick up their SBA application at one of the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) that will open on Saipan, Tinian and Rota within the next week.
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.