RAPID CITY, S.D. -- In the first week since President Clinton declared a federal disaster for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Shannon County, the emergency phase of the disaster has passed and the recovery process is now underway.
The following is a look at some of the services provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management, to meet the present needs of disaster victims:
- As of June 17, a total of 550 disaster victims have registered for assistance through FEMA's Teleregistration center.
- Grants totaling $25,540 has been approved for immediate housing assistance. The Disaster Housing Assistance program provides funding for temporary accommodations or for essential repairs required to an owner-occupied home livable.
- A total of eight housing inspectors are in the affected areas assessing damage to homes and/or personal property of those who applied for assistance. Inspections of 252 properties were completed during the first five days of the disaster.
- A Disaster Recovery Center was opened on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on June 16. The center is staffed with representatives from FEMA, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Congressional office staff, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and officials of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Representatives are available to answer questions about assistance programs, check on the status of applications and direct victims to voluntary agencies that may be able to assist with needs not met by federal or state programs. The center is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The center is closed on Sundays.
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance, through the South Dakota Unemployment Compensation Office, can provide weekly benefits to eligible individuals who are out of work due to the disaster. These include self-employed persons, farmers and ranch owners, and those not covered under regular unemployment insurance.
- The American Red Cross (ARC) continues to maintain two service centers on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to provide care for affected disaster victims. The centers provide immediate emergency needs in the form of vouchers for food, clothing and other necessary staples. In addition to the centers, the ARC has served more than 10,700 meals through their six Emergency Response Vehicles.
- A shuttle service is available to transport Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Shannon County residents to the Disaster Recovery Center in Pine Ridge. The shuttle leaves the Loneman School in Oglala beginning at 10 a.m. The last run going to the Center leaves the school at 5 p.m.
Anyone suffering losses or damage because of the tornadoes, severe storms and flooding are encouraged to register with FEMA by calling 1-800-462-9029 or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). The toll free registration lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
For those who already applied for assistance, but have questions about the status of their application can call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321. Those with hearing or speech impairments can call 1-800-462-7585. The Helpline is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.