FEMA in Town

By: Katie Sabatino
By: Katie Sabatino

The flood waters have receded and now the residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley have the immense job of rebuilding, a long process that can be very costly.

But now that several area counties have been declared federal disaster areas, part of the tab will now get picked up by FEMA.

"I think there's just a corporate sigh of relief whenever you hear that FEMA has added your county to the declaration, so I think folks in Wood County and some of the surrounding counties should feel a lot better today," says FEMA representative Frank Blake.

Anyone who suffered flood damage who lives in a declared disaster area is eligible for federal assistance.

If you needed lodging, FEMA will reimburse you for that. Also, they will give up to $5,100 for home repairs, a gift that although may be a drop in the bucket for some is none the less a start.

"It's important for you to understand that FEMA is not like an insurance agency. We don't restore you to pre-disaster conditions, but what we do is give you a helping hand so you can go on the road to recovery and help yourself," says Blake.

And since so many are reaching out for that helping hand, getting through on the phone lines may be a struggle in itself.

"Just within the first 72 hours in the Ohio Valley we've had over 2600 people apply, so You might get a busy signal, so we suggest if you were kicked out of your house by the flooding stay on the line, but on the other hand if you've suffered maybe just some nuisance flooding you many want to wait a couple of days or call later in the night."

FEMA says don't give up. The money is there and so it the help.

"In the hard hit areas like along the Ohio River. We are doing something extraordinary. We've been putting dozens of people on the street to almost go door to door, go down the street and make sure that people have registered. Clean up right now, start the recovery process, make the phone call and we will get there as soon as possible," says Blake.

If you need help from FEMA the number to call is 1-800-621-FEMA. That's 1-800-621-3362.

Just a few words of caution, there is no cost for any FEMA service and if FEMA representatives come to your door they always carry a photo ID with them.


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