MEMA, FEMA Ensure Disaster Assistance is Available to People with Disabilities

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Release date: 
June 2, 2011
Release Number: 
1983-021

CLINTON, Miss. -- To help entire communities recover from the twin disasters in Mississippi, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are working to make sure people with disabilities have equal access to disaster assistance programs.

"Disasters negatively affect everyone in the community, but individuals with disabilities may encounter unexpected barriers along the road to receiving recovery assistance" said MEMA Director Mike Womack. "Our goal is to be certain everyone; including persons with disabilities, has accurate and accessible information about available state and federal recovery programs."

The inclusive effort means materials are in plain language and in alternative formats such as large print and Braille. Sign language interpreters, amplified phones and other assistive technology are available by request. FEMA's TTY line (800-462-7585) can also answer questions or register people who have hearing impairments.

A statewide Disability Leadership Coalition for individuals with disabilities and for older adults has teamed with FEMA to serve as a resource for individuals with disabilities. FEMA also has a disability integration specialist assigned to Mississippi.

FEMA takes active steps to ensure that the whole community – including people with disabilities, seniors and those with low English proficiency - has the same opportunity to benefit from disaster assistance programs.

Survivors can register with FEMA through the following methods:

Those looking for the nearest disaster recovery center can find one the following ways:

  • By using the 7-1-1 relay service to reach FEMA's helpline at 800-621-3362 or by TTY/ 800-462-7585.

"FEMA's goal is to make the process of recovery available equally to everyone,"; Said Terry L. Quarles, federal coordinating officer for FEMA.

To obtain preparedness resources for individuals with disabilities or to learn more about FEMA's commitment to integrating the needs of individuals with functional needs into all aspects of emergency management, please visit www.fema.gov/about/odic.

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.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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