ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Effective immediately, the toll-free federal helpline for disaster assistance will no longer be staffed on Sundays, according to officials from Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and the U.S Department of Homeland Security?s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In addition, the helpline will be closed Monday, Oct. 8, in observance of Columbus Day.
Otherwise, the helpline will remain in operation from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (local time) Monday through Saturday until further notice. Applicants can update their contact details or receive information about the disaster-assistance process by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. Individuals can also update their contact numbers and seek further information at www.fema.gov or by visiting a Disaster Recovery Center.
As a result of August?s severe storms and flooding, residents in seven Minnesota counties may be eligible for disaster assistance: Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted, Steele, Wabasha and Winona. Those affected by the disaster who have not yet registered with FEMA can begin applying for assistance by using the above phone numbers or Web site. The deadline to apply is Oct. 22, 2007.
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.