W. Va. Flood Victims Told Aid is Available

September 16, 2004

Flood victims in disaster-declared counties reportedly do not need to be concerned that disasters in other states will mean a reduction in funds available for West Virginia. Their applications for assistance will be determined based on their individual needs.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), West Virginia Office of Emergency Services and voluntary organizations are reportedly providing a wide range of programs and services for victims of the Memorial Day and late July storms.

“Don’t hesitate to apply for the assistance you may need,” Louis Botta, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer, said. “The federal government has allocated sufficient funds for all those in the affected areas who have eligible losses.”

“There is enough help to go around for all who are eligible,” Steve Kappa, state coordinating officer, added. “The amounts distributed to one individual will in no way affect what disaster assistance is available to your neighbor or other citizens of West Virginia.”

FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate individuals for their entire loss. If individuals have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under their insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other types of help may come in the form of loans.

Residents are encouraged to apply for a wide variety of programs, such as: funding for temporary disaster housing assistance; U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property; replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs; disaster unemployment assistance; and crisis counseling.

“Don’t prejudge your eligibility,” Kappa said. “We don’t want to miss anyone affected by the severe storms and floods who may need help to begin the recovery process. Tax dollars are set aside specifically for disaster assistance.”

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