The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated four additional Louisiana parishes eligible for federal disaster aid to help meet the recovery needs of homeowners, renters and businesses affected by Hurricane Rita.
R. David Paulison, acting under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and Director of FEMA, made the designations under the major disaster declaration for the state by President Bush.
Based on federal/state damage assessments, the four parishes added for Individual Assistance are Lafayette, Iberia, St. Mary and Acadia. All four were previously declared eligible for Public Assistance programs for emergency services and eligible debris removal. Five other parishes designated for Individual Assistance under the initial disaster declaration are Cameron, Calcasieu, Beauregard, Vermilion and Jefferson Davis. As damage assessments continue, additional parishes may be designated for assistance at a later date.
Individual Assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses not met by insurance or other aid programs. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
Paulison said those who sustained losses in the parishes designated for aid to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process immediately by registering online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.
The toll-free telephone numbers will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Operators are available to help applicants with special language needs.
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