Lacey, Wash. -- When retired school librarian Ellen Kraft returned home from her vacation Dec. 6th, she found that a river had run through it.
During the storms of December, little Molasses Creek behind her King County house had turned into a raging torrent so strong it had torn out her chain link fence. A beaver dam in the nearby green belt area had burst, debris had clogged the culvert under the road, and a rush of water had raged through her neighborhood.
"My friends rallied around me," says Kraft. "They helped me sort out the damaged things and throw them away. They helped me move furniture. And my girlfriend let me stay with her for the ten days it took the cleaning company to dry out the house."
She called FEMA for help on Thursday, Jan. 3rd, after King County was designated for federal assistance. The inspector came on Saturday morning and stayed about 45 minutes. "He was very helpful," Kraft says. "He pointed things out that I needed to know, like the fact that the backs of the vanities in the bathroom are not real wood. He also told me to scrub the cold air returns in the floor with bleach to fight mold."
By Tuesday she had a grant from FEMA deposited directly into her checking account - enough to pay for cleaning the house. "After all the help from my friends," she says, "the grant from FEMA was the icing on the cake."
Individuals in the designated counties who suffered damages from the floods of early December can register for federal/state assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those who are hearing or speech-impaired. The FEMA registration line is open 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, until further notice. You can also register online at www.fema.gov. The deadline to call or go online to register for disaster assistance is Feb. 7.
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.