RICHMOND, Va. -- Flood victims in disaster-declared cities and counties do not need to be concerned that disasters in other states will mean a reduction in funds available for Virginia. Their eligibility for assistance will be determined once they have applied and based on their individual needs.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and voluntary organizations are providing a wide range of programs and services for victims of Tropical Depression Gaston.
"Don't hesitate to apply for the assistance you may need," Federal Coordinating Officer Marianne C. Jackson said. "The federal government has allocated sufficient funds for all those in disaster-affected areas who have eligible losses. The amount distributed to one individual will in no way affect what disaster assistance is available to your neighbor or to others throughout Virginia and beyond."
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, and disaster unemployment assistance.
"Don't prejudge your eligibility," Jackson said. "We don't want to miss anyone affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding brought on by Gaston 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 impairment can apply by calling the toll-free number TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice, and 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 Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.