FEMA is here to help

Published 12:26 am Friday, September 16, 2011

Three weeks ago today, residents of eastern North Carolina made last-minute preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Irene. And while many have been able to return to normal following the storm, countless others have not.

For those still struggling to put their lives back together, the Federal Emergency Management Administration is the first place to turn for assistance.

As of Wednesday, 2,863 individuals and households in Beaufort County had registered for FEMA assistance.

Today through Sunday, FEMA’s Community Relations Teams will visit residents who were affected by Irene in an effort to reach survivors who have not registered for assistance. FEMA teams will canvas Pamlico Beach, South Creek, Hickory Point, Aurora, Pinecrest, Bayview, Core Point, Campbell’s Creek, Belhaven, Sidney, Blount’s Creek, Whichard’s Beach, Jack’s Creek, Wilkinson, Gaylord and Leechville.

There are a number of factors weighed to determine if a survivor is eligible for disaster assistance. FEMA must be able to verify an applicant’s identity, damages and home occupancy.

Once registered, storm victims will receive a letter from FEMA explaining where they are in the process, what to do next or how grant money should be spent.

Survivors may also receive a disaster loan application from the Small Business Administration. While there is no obligation to take an SBA loan, returning the application is essential to the assistance process.

For more information, call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or visit a disaster recovery center.

FEMA officials are here to help.