Bismarck, N.D. -- Federal disaster help for North Dakotans impacted by the recent severe weather in Grand Forks County, including the City of Northwood, already is underway, state and federal recovery officials said Friday.
The new state and federal assistance for homeowners, renters, business owners and workers in Grand Forks County became available Thursday night when President Bush authorized the extra help for storm-related losses August 26 and 27 after severe weather, including an EF-4 tornado hit parts of the county and heavily impacted Northwood.
"This is really great news for residents of Grand Forks County and the Northwood area who don't have insurance or who may still need help with storm-related expenses," said Greg Wilz, Director, N.D. Division of Homeland Security.
Homeowners, renters, business owners and workers in Grand Forks County who sustained storm-related losses now can register with FEMA by the calling toll free: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). For those who are hearing- or speech-impaired, the number to call is: 1-800-462-7585. For now, the phone lines will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT.
FEMA registration also can be done online at any time at www.fema.gov. Click on the "Disaster Assistance" box to access online registration. Registering by phone or online are the only ways to apply with FEMA. There is not a paper application form to fill out.
Persons registering with FEMA should be prepared to provide the following:
- Social Security number (spouse included)
- Address of damaged property
- Current address
- Current phone number
- Description of damages
- Insurance information
- Total household income
Persons registering will be given a FEMA identification number that should be kept handy. The number will enable any applicant to check on the status of their case by phone or online at any step through the process.
Connee Lloyd, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer for the disaster urged residents who have not yet contacted their insurance company to make that call first.
"If you have insurance, it's important that you've begun the process of filing a claim before calling FEMA," Lloyd said. "We want people to know that if they have insurance, they should still register with FEMA. There may be some storm-related damages we can help with that insurance is not already covering."
The newly authorized state and federal assistance can help residents with temporary housing costs, minimal home repairs and other serious disaster needs such as medical and dental costs, transportation and personal property replacement that are not covered by other programs.
Individual assistance can also be in the form of disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling assistance, disaster legal services and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration for individuals and all sizes of businesses.
State and federal disaster assistance also is available for public entities such as state and local governments, as well as some private nonprofit organizations, following the major disaster declaration by President Bush for North Dakota and Grand Forks County specifically earlier in the week. That declaration also included some funding to help with projects that will reduce or prevent future disaster damages.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.