FEMA Still Taking Applications For Disaster Assistance - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/30/03

FEMA Still Taking Applications For Disaster Assistance

The Lee family is getting settled back in their Picayune home after a tornado up rooted them and several trees.

"I had three big pine trees fall. Two came down through the house and tore the end of the house off. And I still have some big trees down in the yard that we aren't able to get them cut out yet. I need some help getting that done," said Jenell Lee.

She showed up at FEMA's Mobile Disaster Recovery Center Friday hoping to get that help. The Lee's home suffered extensive roof, wall and water damage during last month's storm. Her home owners insurance paid for most of the home repairs, but doesn't cover removal of the trees.

"Being widowed, and not having a husband to help, I'm having a hard time trying to get the trees out of the yard," Lee said.

Joseph Gagnon is FEMA's Disaster Recovery Center Manager.

"Everybody who needs assistance, or were affected by the disaster suffered damage in any way, should apply. That's what FEMA is all about," Gagnon said.

He said so far only 38 Pearl River County residents have asked for help.

The Disaster Recovery Center was only available to storm victims Friday. The FEMA workers went on to another part of the state Friday evening. But Gagnon said storm victims can still apply for help by phone.

"For this disaster the public has to apply by before June 23rd. All they need when they pick up that phone to make the call. They have got to have their social security number, income per year, number of people in the household, the address of the damaged dwelling, and what kind of damage was done."

Gagnon said the call will take between 20 to 25 minutes, but could lead to the assistance needed to help folks like the Lee's get back on their feet.

The FEMA Disaster Recovery Center hotline is 1-800-621-3362.

by Al Showers

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