FEMA grants individual assistance funds to South Dakota

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Governor Dennis Daugaard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced yesterday that Individual Assistance disaster funds have been approved for residents and businesses in Union, Hughes, Stanley, and Charles Mix counties for damages caused by flooding March 11 through July 22, 2011.

“This is great news as South Dakota citizens begin the process of recovery from this terribly long and devastating flood,’’ said Gov. Daugaard. “Individual Assistance is an important asset to help affected families, businesses and communities get back on their feet. We have much work ahead of us, and we are grateful for this additional federal help.’’

“This allows FEMA to provide assistance to individuals, families and businesses faced with damage from serious flooding along the Missouri River,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mark Neveau.

South Dakota requested individual assistance for 11 counties. The other seven – Clay, Day, Hamlin, Hand, Lyman, Kingsbury and Yankton – were not included in today’s approval. FEMA officials say other counties could be added to the individual assistance programs later.

After FEMA initially denied a state request for Individual Assistance, the Governor ordered a call center to be opened from July 27-29 and an online survey to be posted in order to gather more flood-damage information from homeowners in the 11 counties hardest hit by high water.  That information was used by the state to appeal FEMA’s earlier denial.

“It is because of that additional damage information that our appeal was successful,” Gov. Daugaard said. “I want to thank all homeowners and businesses with flood damage for their extra effort.”

State and federal officials encourage those affected by the disaster to register for Individual Assistance by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585, or online at www.disasterassistance.gov . The toll-free line will be in operation from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. (CDT) until further notice.

FEMA’s Individual Assistance program includes a wide range of aid, such as home repair, temporary housing, grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.

Officials remind affected residents they must register with FEMA at the above numbers or online to be eligible for all forms of federal assistance. Filing damage reports with state or county emergency managers or voluntary agencies will not begin the federal disaster assistance process.

Officials advise applicants to have the following information available when applying for assistance:

  • Current telephone number
  • Address at the time of the disaster and current address
  • Social Security number
  • A general list of damages and losses
  • If insured, the name of the company, agent, and policy number
  • Bank account and routing number for direct deposit of funds you may be eligible for

FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and does not normally compensate eligible applicants for entire loss. FEMA disaster aid is generally offered as grants that do not have to be paid back.

Source: office of Governor Daugaard

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