COLUMBIA, Mo. -- In a continuing effort to dispel rumors and misinformation regarding available disaster assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) today provided answers to commonly asked questions:
QUESTION: Will FEMA reimburse me for the hotel/motel bills I incurred during the power outage?
ANSWER: FEMA provides funding for temporary housing assistance only when the Individual Assistance program has been approved. Because the recent ice storms did not result in widespread uninsured damage to primary residences, Individual Assistance has not been approved. Therefore, FEMA cannot reimburse for hotel/motel expenditures.
QUESTION: Will FEMA reimburse me for the cost of food spoiled during the power loss?
ANSWER: Reimbursement for food loss has never been available from FEMA under any program.
QUESTION: Will FEMA reimburse me for the cost of removing tree limbs from my yard?
ANSWER: FEMA does not reimburse for the removal of such debris. Questions regarding debris removal from private property should be directed to city or county offices. Those with special needs should call the American Red Cross, 1-866-GET-INFO (438-4636) , or the Missouri Disaster Hotline, 1-888-377-2100 .
QUESTION: What is FEMA's role in this recovery effort?
ANSWER : FEMA's Public Assistance program has been approved for 40 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis in response to the December 2006 and January 2007 winter storms. While FEMA's Public Assistance program cannot provide direct assistance to individuals, this program can and does reimburse the state, local governments, and certain private non-profit entities for 75 percent of eligible costs, including the removal of storm-related debris from public rights of way, thereby sparing local taxpayers an enormous cost.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.