SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands -- Federal and Commonwealth officials want to make sure that those persons suffering damages as a result of Super Typhoon Chaba understand the process for receiving assistance.
The first step is to teleregister at the toll-free number 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362). Persons with hearing or speech impediments should call 1-800-462-7585. Those with no telephone access or unable to speak English can come into the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) on each island to register. This procedure will take between 20 and 30 minutes. The applicant should have 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, whether you are a renter or owner, status of living conditions, insurance information and a telephone number where they can be contacted by an inspector.
An inspector should contact you within 7 to 10 days to make an appointment to inspect the damaged property. It is not necessary to wait for the inspection to begin repair work. The applicant should make specific and detailed notes and photographs of the damage prior to beginning repair work. Records should also be kept of any out-of-pocket expenses made relative to disaster damages.
FEMA advises that it is necessary to have a signed Owners Occupancy Certificate if an official deed for the damaged property is not available to show the inspectors who come to verify damages. This certificate must be signed by their precinct representative in Saipan or by the mayors of Tinian and Rota. If the applicant does not have the signed form when the inspector arrives, the inspection will take place, but the processing of the application by FEMA may be severely delayed.
There is no need to contact the teleregistration number or to go into the DRC prior to your inspection unless you have not heard from an inspector within 10 days of your registration or if you've been referred to the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
After the inspection is made you will be notified by mail of your FEMA status. At this time you can call the FEMA Helpline above to get questions answered. Your award will be based on the inspection and it is not intended to bring you back to pre-disaster condition. The award is to replace essential items and for repairs to make your home safe, secure and sanitary.
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 are open on Saipan, Tinian and Rota.
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.