AUSTIN, Texas -- Disaster assistance has been made available in Harrison, Smith and Upshur counties to help survivors of the historic wildfires begin the process of recovery. The three Texas counties were added Friday to the major disaster declaration, said officials with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Homeowners, renters and businesses in the affected counties are encouraged to register with FEMA. The application process is simple, but crucial, as FEMA may provide assistance that can address specific needs.
"Assistance is now available for individuals in three more counties to get them started with their recovery," said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. "Survivors in all 16 designated counties should register with FEMA as soon as possible," he said.
Counties previously designated for Individual Assistance are Bastrop, Cass, Colorado, Gregg, Grimes, Houston, Leon, Marion, Montgomery, Travis, Walker, Waller and Williamson.
Disaster assistance may include grants that help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs or other serious disaster-related expenses, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs that are not covered by insurance.
Low-interest disaster loans may also be available from the U.S. Small Business Administration that compensate for losses incurred during the disaster that are not covered by insurance or other grants.
Survivors can register for assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via smart phone at m.fema.gov or by also calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Operators are available by phone from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Preliminary Damage Assessments in other Texas counties continue, and additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of the damage assessments.
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.