JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Federal disaster recovery professionals trained in community outreach are visiting people in tornado-stricken Barry, Jasper and Newton Counties, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials said Friday.
FEMA Community Relations (CR) specialists will visit residences, churches, community organizations, and emergency managers, providing answers to questions about disaster assistance.
"We are ensuring that all affected citizens and businesses have access to FEMA information and know how to register for assistance," said Michael Karl, Federal Coordinating Officer for FEMA operations in Missouri.
The Community Relations outreach is one of several ways FEMA gets the word to people who may be eligible for the individual assistance programs authorized in the major presidential disaster declaration of May 23 for damage occurring May 10-11.
Other ways include the FEMA/state Disaster Recovery Centers located in Neosho, Purdy and Joplin; contacts with the news media; communication with congressional, state and local officials and elected representatives; and contact with other disaster recovery organizations operating in the disaster area.
CR representatives seek out any location where people affected in the disaster might be found. They bring information and flyers on recovery resources, U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans and other disaster-related topics. Referrals are also sought for persons with special needs, such as the elderly and people with disabilities.
Karl said the CR teams are expected to be in the field for four to six weeks. Representatives return as often as necessary to reach everyone affected.
Residents of Barry, Jasper and Newton Counties who suffered damage from the severe storms and tornadoes of May 10-11 and have not registered for assistance with FEMA should call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- and hearing-impaired. Online, register at www.fema.gov.
Telephone lines are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Central Daylight Time, seven days a week. Online registration is available 24 hours a day. Callers must provide their legal name and Social Security number, address of the damaged property and insurance information.
Disaster Recovery Centers, locations, and hours are:
Purdy Community Center
403 State Highway C
Purdy, MO 65734
8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Bethany Presbyterian Church
1930 Virginia Ave.
Joplin, MO 64804
8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Calvary Baptist Church
2650 Oak Ridge Extension
Neosho, MO 64850
8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
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.