OLYMPIA -- Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD) are urging people affected by the January 6-16, 2009, severe winter storm, landslides, mudslides and flooding to apply for disaster assistance if they have necessary and serious needs, such as uninsured damaged personal property or medical and dental expenses, related to the disaster. They should apply by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or go online at www.disasterassistance.gov. This assistance is grant funding and the needs must be related to the disaster.
Federal Coordinating Officer Willie G. Nunn said, “Anyone who has had damage could be eligible, but there's no way to know if you don't apply. FEMA may be able to help you repair or replace personal property that was damaged by the disaster, but you must first apply for disaster assistance."
Even if disaster victims have reported their damages to local officials, have applied for assistance through other agencies, or have insurance, they must still apply with FEMA to be eligible for federal and state disaster assistance programs.
Known as the Other Needs Assistance Program (ONA), this assistance includes:
- Personal Property--money to repair or replace personal property damaged or destroyed by the disaster and which is not covered by insurance, including, but not limited to, household items such as room furnishings, appliances, and necessary educational materials
- Transportation--money for the repair or replacement of a person's primary means of transportation that is no longer available because of the disaster
- Medical and Dental--money to cover the costs of dental and medical treatment required because of physical injuries received or the purchase of medical equipment damaged or destroyed because of the disaster
- Funeral and Burial Costs -- money to pay for funeral and burial costs caused by the disaster
- Other Disaster Related Expenses--money approved by FEMA for other specific disaster related costs, such as fuel for a chain saw and moving and storage expenses
Once homeowners and renters have registered with FEMA, they may receive a loan application from the Small Business Administration (SBA). They should complete and return it to the SBA as soon as possible. Filing the application does not obligate people to accept the loan, but applicants must still
complete the SBA loan application before they can be considered for these grants. Officials stress that ONA is available for people who have applied for a loan from SBA and have been denied the loan or the loan amount is insufficient to cover their losses. For questions about the ONA program, those who are already registered with FEMA can call the ONA hotline at 1-800-688-3469.
State Coordinating Officer Kurt Hardin emphasized, “People must apply with FEMA for assistance, complete the SBA loan application if one is sent to them, and then call the ONA hotline if they have questions. But they must first register with FEMA."
Residents of the following declared counties are eligible for assistance: Benton, Cowlitz, Clallam, Grays Harbor, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Whatcom.
Those interested in applying for or getting information on disaster assistance should call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or they should go online to www.disasterassistance.gov.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.