Disaster help center opening Wednesday

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lincoln County has been declared eligible for federal disaster recovery assistance following Hurricane Isaac, and a recovery center is expected to open Wednesday to help people in the application process, said Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey.

     Lincoln County was among 13 counties added to the declaration following the late August hurricane. Other area counties included in the designation are Pike, Amite, Walthall, Adams and Wilkinson counties.

     Galey anticipated the Disaster Recovery Center opening Wednesday at the National Guard Armory on Highway 84. He said the hours are expected to be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, depending on the number of people who register for assistance.

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     FEMA Public Information Officer Gene Kauffman said regional applicants should register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by mobile device at m.fema.gov. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362.

     Galey said those seeking assistance must register first.

     “This is to assist you in the application process after you’ve registered,” Galey said.

     Galey said close to 200 people have already registered online through the FEMA website.

     “And we’ve had quite a few phone calls here,” said Galey about people inquiring about how to get help following Isaac.

     Homeowners and renters can register for federal disaster assistance that may help pay for:

     • Temporary housing;

      • Home repairs;

      • Other serious disaster-related expenses not met by insurance or other assistance programs; and

      • Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration that may cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

     “This is one of those things that even if people have insurance, they need to register for,” Galey said.

     Kauffman also encouraged residents to apply for assistance regardless of their insurance coverage or whether they are a renter or a homeowner.

     “We may be able to cover things insurance does not,” Kauffman said.

     People in the newly designated counties who have already registered for federal disaster assistance do not need to do so again, according to FEMA. If they have any questions about their applications for disaster assistance, they should call 800-621-3362.

     In other Isaac-related activity, Galey advised citizens to be cautious around debris along roadways. The county is in the process of getting the debris picked up and supervisors are expected to award a contract for that work later this week.

     Also, Lincoln County is among 48 counties where free tetanus vaccinations are available to citizens affected by Hurricane Isaac. All other Southwest Mississippi counties are also included in the free shot availability at county health departments.

     State health department officials advised storm-affected citizens that a tetanus vaccination is recommended if it’s been 10 years or more since their last vaccination.