Flood updates

FEMA offers advice at ACE Hardware in Rainelle

As West Virginians repair or rebuild their homes damaged by last month’s storms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the ACE Hardware store in Rainelle have teamed up to provide free information, tips and literature on making homes stronger and safer.

FEMA mitigation specialists will be on hand this week to answer questions and offer home improvement tips along with proven methods to prevent and lessen damage from future disasters. A variety of free workshops for storm-impacted homeowners on such topics as repairing or installing flooring and what to do with rain-soaked drywall will be presented daily. Most of the information is geared for do-it-yourselfers and general contractors.

FEMA advisors will be at ACE Hardware, 326 Main Street, Rainelle, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Saturday, Aug. 30.

Free reference booklets, in English and Spanish, with information on protecting your home from flood damage, will be available at all locations. More information about strengthening property can be found at http://www.fema.gov/what-mitigation.

West Virginians who have questions about their flood insurance policies and coverage should contact the National Flood Insurance Program call center at 800-621-3362 (Option 2) between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Specialists can help with service claims, provide general information regarding policies, and offer technical assistance to aid in recovery.

Every disaster survivor has equal access to registration, information and assistance

All survivors who sustained damage or losses from the June flooding can get help from local Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs).

If you need an accommodation or assistance due to a disability, notify Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) staff at the time of registration or anytime throughout the assistance process.

Survivors can meet face-to-face with various agencies and service providers at each DRC. All FEMADRCs are equally accessible to people with disabilities and provide assistance tools. Use the DRC Locator at http://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm to find the DRC closest to you.

The DRCs meet Rehabilitation Act standards:

• Every disaster survivor has equal access to disaster registration information and assistance.

• DRCs offer effective communication options including: captioned phones, iPads with video remote interpreting; American Sign Language interpreters upon request; amplified telephones andlistening devices for people with hearing loss; phones that display text; and magnifiers for people with vision loss.

• FEMA documents are available in both Braille, large print, and other formats upon request.

FEMA assistance does not impact government benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, Social Security, or other benefits.

Help to repair septic systems may be available

West Virginia storm survivors: if your on-site storm-damaged septic system needs to be repaired or replaced, you may be able to get help.

The first step is to get a certificate from your local sanitarian. You will need this before you can start repairs or get a replacement. Get in touch with your county health department to reach your sanitarian. Once you have the certificate, you may be eligible for a loan to do the repairs.

Remember, call your county health department first.

‘How can I help?’ – some answers for West Virginians who want to make a difference

In the face of disaster, the people of West Virginia have come together with courage and compassion to ask, “How can I help?”

The main needs now are cash donations and volunteers.

Although there has been an outpouring of financial support already to help flood survivors, more is needed. Cash donations enable nonprofit organizations to purchase what disaster survivors need most. Buying the items from local businesses helps the economy recover. No gift is too small.

West Virginians and people from throughout the nation have donated thousands of hours of labor to help the many affected folks who are elderly, disabled, living on fixed incomes or otherwise overwhelmed by the flood’s after effects. But more volunteers are needed.

There are many organizations that need donations and are looking for volunteers and at least two comprehensive groups focused on West Virginia flood recovery. The West Virginia Chapter of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (WVVOAD) represents dozens of faith-based, community, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations active in flood response and recovery. wvflood is a new websiteupdated by Volunteer West Virginia, the state’s Commission for National and Community Service, in partnership with WV VOAD with the support of the Office of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.Anyone who can make a cash donation or volunteer may do so at the WVVOAD or wvflood websites.

Unfortunately, disasters tend to attract con artists who will take advantage of well meaning people. Donate to legitimate national or local organizations. Beware of solicitations to help survivors from people or groups who may sound sincere but you haven’t verified. If you are unsure or uncomfortable about the intentions of anyone you encounter, contact local law enforcement. If you suspect fraud, call the West Virginia consumer protection hotline at 800-368-8808.

Finally, be ready to stick around for the long haul. The work of recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be a need for donations and volunteers to help West Virginia recover for many months, even years, to come.

Deadline to apply for physical damage loans Aug. 24

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved over $16 million in low-interest disaster loans for businesses and residents in West Virginia affected by the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides on June 22 – 29. The deadline to file an SBA disaster loan application for physical damage is Aug. 24.

Currently, 245 disaster loans have been approved in the amount of $16,362,400 for affected survivors. Reaching $16 million means more businesses and individuals can get back on their feet. People who took the time to apply for disaster loans are making headway by getting their funding available to use for disaster related repairs.

Disaster survivors should not count themselves out, even if they think they cannot afford or want an SBA disaster loan. There is no obligation to take the loan or cost to apply. In some cases, homeowners and renters that cannot qualify for a loan are referred to other programs for grant consideration. There is no need to wait on insurance settlements before applying.

SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the disaster. Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 1.625 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications can be returned to a recovery center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Aug. 24, 2016.

The deadline to return economic injury applications is Mar. 27, 2017.



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