CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- Flood victims in disaster-declared counties do not need to be concerned that disasters in other states will mean a reduction in funds available for West Virginia. Their applications for assistance will be determined based on their individual needs.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), West Virginia Office of Emergency Services and voluntary organizations are providing a wide range of programs and services for victims of the Memorial Day and late July storms.
“Don’t hesitate to apply for the assistance you may need,” Louis Botta, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer, said. “The federal government has allocated sufficient funds for all those in the affected areas who have eligible losses.”
“There is enough help to go around for all who are eligible,” Steve Kappa, state coordinating officer, said. “The amounts distributed to one individual will in no way affect what disaster assistance is available to your neighbor or other citizens of West Virginia.”
FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other types of help may come in the form of loans. The FEMA representative will explain the details to you when you call.
Residents are encouraged to apply for a wide variety of programs, such as: funding for temporary disaster housing assistance; U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property; replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs; disaster unemployment assistance; and crisis counseling.
“Don’t prejudge your eligibility,” Kappa said. “We don’t want to miss anyone affected by the severe storms and floods who may need help to begin the recovery process. Tax dollars are set aside specifically for disaster assistance.”
The application process is easy, efficient and begins with a single phone call to FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with speech or hearing impairments can apply by calling toll-free TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are also available to answer your call.
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.