LITTLE ROCK, ARK. -- Individuals and families who evacuated to Arkansas after Hurricane Katrina need to register for disaster aid if they haven't already done so, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"This is the critical first step to receiving FEMA disaster assistance," said Carlos Mitchell, federal coordinating officer for emergency operations in Arkansas.
Evacuees can register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or by going online at www.fema.gov . Applicants will receive information when they register and later by mail regarding available programs. The registrations are being taken 24 house a day, seven days a week until further notice.
?The only way to receive assistance from FEMA is to register with us directly, said Mitchell. ?The FEMA registration process is separate form those of other helping agencies,? he said.
?Along with and in addition to the FEMA registration process, if an evacuee has not registered with the Arkansas Operation KARE (Katrina Assistance Relief Effort) website at www.kare.arkansas.gov or 1-877-2WE-KARE (293-5273), we encourage you to do so. This should be done as soon as possible so the state can identify who you are, where you are, what your plans/desires are, and how we can help you,? said Arkansas Department of Emergency Management Director Wayne Ruthven.
Because of the large volume of FEMA registrations, both by phone and online, FEMA suggests that applicants register during off-peak hours- late night or early morning.
Applicants should have the following information ready when they call:
- Social Security Number
- Current and pre-disaster address
- Current telephone numbers
- Insurance coverage, policy number(s) and agent's name. Applicants are urged to contact their insurance company and file necessary claims. Government assistance does not cover damage or losses already covered by private insurance.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program.