Only days left to apply to FEMA

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia whose businesses or homes and property were damaged by Hurricane Isabel have only two more weeks to apply for assistance, federal and state officials announced today.

Frank Blake, a FEMA representative, said Dec. 8 is the last day to register with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance. You may register by calling FEMA’s toll-free number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). People with hearing or speech impairments can call TTY 1-800-462-7585. The telephone numbers are operational seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Blake said applicants, whose businesses or homes and property were located in jurisdictions declared disaster areas in the Commonwealth of Virginia, may qualify for assistance under several federal and state programs such as disaster housing assistance, grants to meet disaster-related needs and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans.

&uot;These assistance programs are the primary funding sources to assist Hurricane Isabel victims who are not insured or were underinsured,&uot; said Michael Cline, state coordinating officer. &uot;Virginians who need assistance and have not registered with FEMA should make every effort to contact the toll-free number and register before the Dec. 8 deadline.&uot;

Applicants may reach the FEMA Helpline by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Representatives are available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, to answer questions about the assistance process or the status of applications. TTY service is available at 1-800-462-7585.

&uot;Even after the December 8 deadline, if you have questions about your application, FEMA will be just a telephone call away,&uot; said Louis Botta, federal coordinating officer.

As of Nov. 20, residents of Suffolk had filed six new applications for assistance for a total of 3,061 in the city. FEMA has assisted 587 households or individuals in Suffolk at a cost of $1,013,540. Most of that cost was for housing for 370 families following the hurricane.

On Murphy’s Mill road in Suffolk, 11 trees fell near the cabin, and Boy Scout Troop 5 earned points in community service as they volunteered to serve as the clean-up crew.

Scoutmaster Thom Chambers said the property is owned by West End Baptist Church, and that his troops used the Murphy’s Mill cabin as their camp-out headquarters and the site for other activities.

The troop invited parents, siblings, and other family members to help with the cleanup and even with all that valuable help, it took until Nov. 22 to get the mess gathered up into piles alongside the road where it awaits pickup.

Jimmy Fanney, who serves on the troop committee, and Allen Kiger and William E. Ashley Jr., members of West End Church, all assisted the Scouts in this endeavor.

Eagle Scout Candidate Kevin Howell also used this project to plan and implement an escape route from the cabin as part of his emergency preparedness merit badge. Everyone at the site participated in the drill and instructions are now posted inside the cabin in case an emergency forces the occupants to exit immediately.