Ahoskie, Windsor DRC’s close Friday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 23, 2003

Three Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs), including ones in Ahoskie and Windsor that help applicants with hurricane recovery information and paperwork, will close over the next five days.

&uot;People who were affected by Hurricane Isabel should call and register now,&uot; says Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

&uot;Then come in to our recovery centers this week to get help with any questions or to meet with a specialist personally.

The process continues to move quickly-we may close the rest of the DRCs by the end of this month.&uot;

More than 8,400 residents in disaster-declared counties have visited the DRCs since the first ones opened September 23.

However, the number of visitors at the centers that are closing has dwindled to the mid-teens or even single digits per day.

Before visiting the centers, residents must first have applied for aid by telephone. The FEMA toll-free numbers to apply for assistance are 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing- or speech-impaired.

The centers that are closing this week, and the days they close, are as follows (each closes at 7 p.m. on the date given):

*Wednesday, October 22: the Washington DRC, at the Beaufort County Department of Social Services

*Friday, October 24: the Ahoskie DRC, at the Ahoskie Recreation Center

*Friday, October 24: the Windsor DRC, at the Bertie County Senior Center

Centers remain open in Bayboro, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Hertford, and Swan Quarter.

Representatives at the DRCs from the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety and FEMA will help applicants with any questions they have about the application process as well as provide updates on the status of the individual application.

Officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration will also be on hand to help with disaster loan applications. The agency’s disaster loan program makes available low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and business owners with disaster-related losses.

Anyone throughout the disaster-declared area may visit any DRC for help.

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

FEMA’s continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident.

FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.

For more information about hurricane preparedness and recovery and specific information about Isabel, visit the FEMA website at www.fema.gov.