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Published:February 20th, 2007 05:06 EST

FEMA, Two Disaster Recovery Centers Closing

By SOP newswire

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Recovery officials in Florida have announced the closing of two State-FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs), 6 p.m., Saturday, February 24, 2007.

The recovery centers that will close are at Atlantic Coast Baptist Church, 1212 Conrad Drive, New Smyrna Beach, and the Wal-Mart Super Center, 1699 N. Woodland Drive, Deland.

The closures are based on a steady decline in center visitors in the past week. Since it first opened on Feb 5, the New Smyrna Beach facility has handled more than 130 inquiries from area residents. The North Woodland DRC was opened Feb 9, and more than 300 visitors have come to ask questions about available disaster assistance programs, check on individual applications or seek information about risk-reduction measures to lessen future loss.

To date, nearly 2,150 homeowners, renters or business owners in the four federally-declared counties have taken the opportunity to meet face-to-face with disaster recovery specialists from the state, FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), other government agencies and volunteer organizations.

Four recovery centers will continue to operate: two in the Lady Lake area at 1985 Laurel Manor Drive, and 38521 Lakeview Drive, and two in the Deland vicinity, 31039 Lake Mack Road and Victoria Square, South . All centers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.

In addition to the remaining DRCs, registered applicants can communicate with a recovery specialist by using the FEMA helpline option at 1-800-621-3362 or TTY for the speech-or hearing impaired at 1-800-462-7585 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. On the web, disaster information remains available 24 hours a day at

Both the website and phone lines may be used to register for assistance.

FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, economic status or retaliation. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, you should call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or contact your State Office of Equal rights. If suspicious of any abuse of FEMA programs, please contact the fraud hotline at 1-800-323-8603.