State and federal disaster officials are concerned that persons eligible for disaster aid from the recent storms may not be applying for aid under the erroneous assumption that by reporting damages to state and local officials or to the American Red Cross they have already applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance. They must, however, apply directly to FEMA to receive assistance.
The only way to apply for state /federal assistance is by calling the FEMA toll-free registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for hearing and speech impaired or by applying on line at . Lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.
"Reporting damage to local officials does not mean that you are in the FEMA system," said Peter Martinasco, FEMA's federal coordinating officer for this disaster. "We cannot provide assistance until you have called the registration number or applied online."
On October 26, President George W. Bush declared a major disaster for Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Sullivan counties for severe storms and flooding that struck New Hampshire October 7-18. The declaration allows homeowners, renters and business owners in these counties who sustained damages to apply for aid.
"We are working closely with our federal partners, as well as other state and local agencies, to ensure that affected residents are aware of the many resources available to them throughout the recovery and rebuilding processes," said Mike Poirier, state coordinating officer for the response and assistance planning chief and public assistance coordinator officer for the New Hampshire Bureau of Emergency Management (BEM). The toll-free telephone number for New Hampshire State Assistance Programs is 1-888-540-5605.