ATLANTA , Ga. -- Of the thousands of persons forced to flee their residences as Gulf Hurricanes Rita and Katrina battered coastal states, those now in North Carolina have received more than $14.7 million in aid from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA assistance for the more than 6,000 displaced persons in North Carolina includes funds for food, shelter, clothing, medical and dental care, funeral expenses and other emergency needs.
In addition, FEMA provides financial and direct assistance for housing to those persons who are eligible.
To receive FEMA aid, individuals must first be registered. That can be done by going online to www.fema.gov or calling FEMA on its toll-free telephone line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Due to the large volume of calls, applicants are urged to call during off-peak hours such as late evening or early morning. The registration line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Additionally, those temporarily in North Carolina are receiving assistance from local government agencies and volunteer agencies such as the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and church organizations. Individuals in North Carolina have also given food, clothing and monetary help in this coordinated effort.
The Red Cross provides emergency shelter to any victims of a declared disaster. With these storm victims and the large number of displaced persons, the Red Cross is providing temporary housing vouchers to evacuees. To register for that aid, call 1-800-975-7585. The agency is advising callers to contact their local Red Cross if they find the national hurricane relief number continuously busy.
Federal agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are also assisting this coordinated effort between FEMA, the state and volunteer groups. HUD is providing housing assistance through local Public Housing Authorities for pre-disaster HUD assisted and homeless families. Evacuees registered with FEMA and seeking housing help from HUD should call 1-800-955-2232 and ask about the HUD Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program (KDHAP).