November 1st, 2007 04:12 EST
California Wildfires - the Human Element
FEMA Assistance Continues as Californians Begin Recovery
» More Information on California Wildfires
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As federal, state and local firefighters make continued progress fighting the Southern California wildfires, individuals in shelters and those who have returned home can look to available federal assistance to aid them in their recovery. After calling their insurance companies and filing a claim, if necessary, residents who were displaced or whose homes sustained damage are being urged to apply for aid by calling or by registering online.
FEMA Administrator David Paulison said that the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued yesterday by the President, and makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. The federal programs available are not intended as a substitute for insurance. They exist to provide basic shelter and personal property needs. Vacation and secondary homes are not eligible for this assistance.
To further help individuals and businesses affected by the wildfires, FEMA deployed Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers (MDRCs) to affected communities within the state. Four MDRCs are already on hand to assist individuals sheltered at Qualcomm stadium to register for federal aid under FEMA's Individual Assistance Program. The large van-type vehicles provide space and communications equipment for response and recovery operations, and have phone banks for applicants to register on the spot. FEMA is working with the California Office of Emergency Services to identify where to place additional MDRCs available for use in Southern California.
Residents who were affected by the disaster can apply for assistance by going online at www.fema.gov and clicking on "Apply for Assistance" or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The TTY number is 1-800-462-7585. Telephone lines are open and internet registration is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Internet registration is easier and faster for those with access to the Web. Applicants registering for federal aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.
FEMA, along with its federal and private non-profit partners, continues to work in coordination with the state of California to provide resource support and personnel necessary to fight the fires, evacuate communities and shelter residents.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.
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