MOORHEAD, Minn. -- Community Relations specialists are on the ground and visiting people in three Minnesota counties that are now eligible for Individual Assistance (IA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials said today.
FEMA Community Relations personnel will visit residences, churches, community organizations and emergency managers in Beltrami, Marshall and Polk counties, providing answers to questions about disaster assistance. Clay, Norman, Traverse and Wilkin counties previously were declared eligible for IA.
"We are ensuring that all affected citizens and businesses in these newly-declared counties have access to FEMA information and know how to register for assistance," said Michael H. Smith, federal coordinating officer for operations in Minnesota.
The Community Relations outreach is one of several ways FEMA gets the word to people who may be eligible for the IA program for damage from flooding during the period of March 16, 2009, and continuing.
Other ways that disaster officials reach out to affected residents include FEMA/state Disaster Recovery Centers; 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.
Community Relations representatives seek out any location where people affected by the disaster might be found. They provide information and flyers on recovery resources, U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest loans and other disaster-related topics. Referrals are also sought for persons with special needs, such as the elderly, people with disabilities or those with limited English proficiency.
Residents of the affected counties who have not registered for assistance with FEMA should call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or (TTY 1-800-462-7585). Telephone lines are open 6 a.m. to midnight CDT seven days a week. Callers must provide their legal name and Social Security number, address of the damaged property and insurance information. The registration deadline is June 9.
Online registration at www.DisasterAssistance.gov is available 24 hours a day.
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.