FEMA help arrives

Published 11:04 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A federal agency will intervene with financial assistance as storm victims in the Roanoke-Chowan area pick-up the pieces from Hurricane Irene.

On Sunday, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue placed 15 additional counties on the federal disaster list, bringing the total to 33 counties that have been approved for individual assistance. The new additions include the entire Roanoke-Chowan area (Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides two types of assistance. Individual assistance aids families and businesses, while public assistance is for county and municipal government entities to assist in covering the expenses they incurred before, during and after the storm.

R-C area residents suffering storm damage to their property can now apply for disaster assistance. The first step in that process is to make the initial application by telephone (toll free at 1-800-621-3362) or online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. The TIY number is 1-800-462-7585 (for 711 or Video Relay Service, call 1-800-621-3362).

Persons affected by the hurricane can also apply for federal assistance with a tablet or smartphone by visiting m.fema.gov.

Be ready to answer the following questions upon making connection with a FEMA representative:

The address of where the storm damage occurred;

Names of those living in your household;

Description of the disaster damages;

Insurance information;

Telephone contact number where you can best be reached;

Mailing address; and

If you want the disaster assistance funds sent directly to your bank, provide the FEMA agent with bank account type (savings/checking), account number and routing number.

When you apply you will be given a FEMA application number. Write that number down and save it for future reference. That number is needed whenever you contact FEMA.

Property insurance is essential in any recovery process. If you’ve been affected by Hurricane Irene, make sure to contact your insurance company to file a claim. Only damages not covered by insurance can qualify for FEMA disaster assistance. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits.

If you move after applying for assistance, be sure to inform FEMA of your new address and telephone number. This will ensure that all disaster awards are forwarded to the right address.

Those needing further assistance can contact local emergency management officials. Those telephone numbers are:

Bertie County: 794-5302

Gates County: 357-2820

Hertford County: 358-7819

Northampton County: 574-0214

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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