ATLANTA – Many Georgia residents come to volunteer agencies for disaster assistance. This is not the same as registering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for help. Both entities have been exceptionally active following the April 27 and 28 severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and associated flooding.
“If you go only to volunteer agencies and fail to register with FEMA, you may be cutting yourself off from a major source of recovery funds,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech. “Programs are in place, paid for with your own tax dollars that are there to help you in this time of need.”
FEMA is a federal agency that is funded by congress and administers disaster programs determined by federal officials. Volunteer agencies raise their funds publicly and determine their own programs. Volunteer agencies provide individuals and families with immediate necessities and emergency services. FEMA programs fill in the gap between immediate needs and long term recovery.
“FEMA, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and volunteer agencies work together closely when a disaster occurs. However, their missions, programs and funding are completely different,” said State Coordinating Officer Charley English.
Anyone affected by the April storms is urged to register for disaster assistance through FEMA. There are grants to cover emergency home repairs, rental assistance, and funds to address essential losses not covered by insurance. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration may be available for homeowners and renters as well as business owners.
Registering takes about 20 minutes and can be done by phone, on the internet and mobile devices. By phone, register between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. Call 1-800-621-FEMA . Those with hearing or speech disabilities can call 1-800-462-7585. Register using the internet and mobile devices anytime by logging on to www.disasterassistance.gov. or going to m.fema.gov.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.