Baton Rouge , La. --Three more Louisiana parishes have been added to the list of those eligible for extra disaster assistance from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Individual assistance for Allen, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes has been made available to help homeowners, renters and business owners recover from the effects of Hurricane Rita. All three parishes were previously designated for public assistance programs for emergency services and eligible debris removal.
Vice Admiral Thad Allen, principal federal official and federal coordinating officer for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Recovery Efforts, in conjunction with state and local officials, announced that the parishes were added after further federal/state damage assessments. "Additional parishes may be designated for assistance at a later date after further evaluation," said Allen. "Assessments are continuing."
The number of parishes now eligible for individual assistance in the wake of Hurricane Rita stands at 12. Acadia, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron , Iberia , Jefferson Davis, Lafayette , St. Mary and Vermilion parishes had been designated earlier.
Individual Assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses not met by insurance or other aid programs. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
Allen said that affected residents and business owners in the designated parishes can begin the disaster application process by calling the toll-free registration number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Those with a speech or hearing impairment can call a special TTY number at 1-800-462-7585 . Applicants can also register online at www.fema.gov .