OWATONNA, Minn. -- Disaster assistance has been made available for Martin and Olmsted counties to help residents recover from the effects of severe storms and flooding that occurred September14 through September 27, according to officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM).
Thomas J. Costello, FEMA's federal coordinating officer, said the counties were added to the list of eligible jurisdictions based on a review of damage data gathered by federal and state disaster recovery officials. The previously designated counties include Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower and Steele for Individual Assistance and Public Assistance. Martin County had been previously designated for Public Assistance. All counties statewide are eligible for Hazard Mitigation Programs.
"We remain committed to delivering assistance wherever it's needed and to making sure that every qualified individual and family receives the help they need to get back on the road to recovery," Costello said.
Individuals can begin the disaster application process by calling the toll-free registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers are available 8am-6pm, seven days a week until further notice. Individuals with Internet access now have the option to register on the agency's website at http://www.fema.gov, where valuable recovery information is also available.
"Call and apply, even if you have already reported the damage to the county emergency manager, American Red Cross or other voluntary agencies," Al Bataglia, HSEM state coordinating officer, said. "Residents and business owners in Martin and Olmsted counties who suffered damages are eligible to apply for a wide range of state and federal disaster assistance programs under this disaster designation."
The aid can include funding for temporary disaster housing assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans for individuals and business owners to repair or replace real or personal property and housing repair; replacement grants to help meet serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs; and disaster unemployment assistance.
Callers are advised to have the following information available to help speed up the application process:
- Your current phone number;
- Your Social Security number, if available;
- A general list of damages and losses you suffered;
- If insured, your insurance policy number, or the agent's and company name;
- General financial information; and
- Bank account code if you wish to speed up your assistance with direct deposit.
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. Residents should contact their insurance agent first, then if they have unmet needs they should call FEMA to apply. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of loans. The FEMA representative will explain the details to you when you call.
DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM INFORMATION
When disaster strikes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers a number of disaster assistance programs and coordinates the efforts of many other federal agencies that provide services to help people through the recovery process. The types of assistance that are available follow.