Federal disaster aid available for Union County flood damage

Gov. Dennis Daugaard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have announced that Individual Assistance disaster funds are now available to residents and businesses in Charles Mix, Hughes, Stanley and Union 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,� added 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 and families faced with damage from flooding along the Missouri River,� said Federal Coordinating Officer Mark Neveau.

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 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 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 seven days a week until further notice.

Persons affected by the floods can also apply for federal assistance through a web-enabled mobile device or Smartphone by going to m.fema.gov and following the link to apply online for federal assistance and other recovery help.

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 start 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 if you become eligible

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

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) makes low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed private property. The SBA also offers low-interest working capital loans, called Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), to small businesses and most private, non-profit organizations to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

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