BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The danger of additional flooding in the wake of Hurricane Irene has led to a one-day closure of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster recovery centers in Barre and St. Johnsbury on Monday, Aug. 29. The Centers will reopen at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30 and remain open through Thursday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. when they will close permanently. The centers were opened to provide face-to-face resources for residents of Caledonia and Washington counties after a presidential declaration for flooding on May 26 -- 27, 2011.
"The rain may stop by Monday morning," said Federal Coordinating Officer Craig Gilbert, "but we are concerned that effects from the hurricane will linger and we don't want to put anyone in danger -- and that includes Vermont residents and the federal/state recovery center staff."
"Flooding may follow on the heels of the storm as water flows down from the hills," said Mike O'Neil, director of Vermont Emergency Management. "We don't encourage people to venture out while the rivers are rising and debris or high water may be causing road hazards."
Vermonters in Caledonia and Washington counties who were affected by spring flooding can still register for federal disaster assistance until Tuesday, Sept. 6th. More than 743 have called FEMA thus far to apply for grants and low-interest disaster loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Registration is available online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via a web-enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. To register by phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362). Multilingual registration assistance and help is available. Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; or call 800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS).
Vermonters who have already registered and have questions about their application or correspondence received from FEMA should call the FEMA registration number above and press the "help" option.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
SBA disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov or completed on-line at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
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.