AUSTIN, Texas – If you are a survivor of the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion and have questions about federal disaster assistance, help is on the way.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSATs) are canvassing neighborhoods throughout West to register residents on the spot and to answer questions about state and federal assistance programs. Each specialist carries a photo ID and wears a shirt bearing the agency’s logo. Teams will also be visiting local businesses to hand out registration information.
“Our Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams will continue to blanket affected areas for as long as needed,” said Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) Kevin L. Hannes. “Some people prefer to talk to someone face to face, and our neighborhood outreach fills that need for direct contact. We urge people to take advantage of these resources while they are available.”
Federal disaster assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs.
Low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are also available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster. These disaster loans cover uninsured, underinsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
It’s vital that homeowners, renters and business owners register with FEMA. Residents can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via smartphone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
Residents registering by phone or online will be asked to identify the description of damages sustained and must select the “EXPLOSION” option. Residents will then be asked to identify the type of damage and must select the “FIRE/SMOKE/SOOT/ASH” option. (Do NOT select the “other” 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 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. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/femaregion6, and our FEMA Region 6 website at www.fema.gov/region-vi/region-6-preparedness.
SBA is the federal government’s primary source of funding for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).