SAN JUAN, P.R. -- Only five days remain for individuals and business owners in the fifty-eight municipalities of Puerto Rico designated for disaster assistance to call and apply for federal aid due to the losses caused from the rains, flooding, landslides and mudslides in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Jeanne, which occurred September 14-19, 2004.
“This is our final effort to reach out to any disaster victims who still haven’t applied,” Federal Coordinating Officer Peter Martinasco, said. “We don’t want anyone to miss out on the assistance they are entitled to. Those who suffered damages as a result of the storm should call and apply before the deadline.”
Monday, November 22, 2004 is the deadline to call and apply for federal disaster assistance. Individuals and business owners in the eligible municipalities who sustained losses but still have not applied for assistance should do so by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toll-free application number, 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585, for those with hearing or speech impairment). Both numbers are operational daily, from 6 a.m. to midnight.
“Even after the deadline, FEMA will still be only a telephone call away. Applicants may reach FEMA by calling the Helpline at 1-800 621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585). The Helpline is a permanent FEMA service,” he added. People who have already applied may check on the status of their application and get additional information by calling the FEMA Helpline at the same numbers, 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585), even after the deadline.
Helpline representatives are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., to answer any questions about the assistance process or the status of the applications. The Helpline will not be affected by the November 22, 2004 registration deadline. Applicants may also visit any of the Disaster Recovery Centers located in Aguada, Canóvanas, Fajardo, Santa Isabel and Ciales. The centers are open Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., until further notice.
Those who have insurance may still be eligible for disaster assistance for under-insured losses. However, in order to complete an application, FEMA will need the resident’s insurance settlement information to avoid any duplication of benefits.
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.