January 24, 2008

Wyden, Smith Remind Storm Victims that Disaster Assistance Deadline is Approaching

PORTLAND, Ore - Victims of December's storm have until February 7, 2008 to register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and for filing applications with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for loans to repair physical damage.

Oregonians who live in Clatsop, Columbia, Polk, Tillamook, Washington or Yamhill Counties who suffered damage resulting from the severe storms, wind, mudslides, landslides and flooding of December 1-17, 2007 should call the FEMA registration line at 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for persons with special speech or hearing needs. Registration line hours are from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Pacific Standard Time, Monday-Friday. Applicants may also register any time online at www.fema.gov .

"The door on obtaining disaster assistance from the federal government will close after February 7," Wyden said. "It's important that anyone who believes they are entitled to receive help to restore their homes and belongings should apply."

"There is help available, but it won't last forever," Smith said. "Submitting an application should be a top priority. This assistance will help people get back on their feet and repair flood damage in and around a home or business."

FEMA has said that applicants should contact their insurance company and file necessary claims before contacting FEMA, as government assistance does not cover damage or losses already covered by private insurance.

The SBA can loan homeowners up to $200,000 to repair or rebuild a primary residence to its pre-disaster condition. Homeowners and renters may be able to borrow as much as $40,000 to repair or replace personal property such as clothing, furniture and automobiles. Eligible businesses may be eligible for up to $1.5 million to repair or replace damaged facilities, business contents and working capital.