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The Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA, created a new disaster recovery center today in Galena to assist the victims of the recent flood. This new center is just one of the several places flood victims can apply for a FEMA program that will help them pay for flood damages.
KSMU's Kristian Kriner reports.
Residents in thirty-five Missouri counties are eligible for the Individual Assistance Program through FEMA.
It helps individuals whose homes and possessions were destroyed.
They can get the money they need to rebuild their homes.
FEMA has established several disaster relief centers in Southwest and Southeast Missouri where people can register for the Individual Assistance Program.
After home owners are registered for the program, FEMA workers will ask a series of questions to find out if the person is eligible for assistance and what kind of assistance they need.
Joyce Lincoln is a FEMA External Affairs Specialist.
She says the eligibility process is different for each case.
"Everything that we do in the particular program is done on a case by case basis. With the new privacy rules, the federal laws that are in place, it's very confidential information and that creates a lot of problems for us as far as managing people's expectations. They think if their neighbor Julia got so much amount of money and they talked over coffee and they know that's true. Why didn't they qualify for the same amount and they live next door. But everything is done on a case by case basis, what Julia has and what she is able to receive is totally different than what your neighbor gets or the person across the street might be eligible for and that's to protect these people," Lincoln said.
FEMA offers funds for temporary housing and lodging expenses.
There's also money available for repairing and replacing homes or possessions.
Lincoln says people who have no insurance and have lost everything will be eligible for financial assistance.
"FEMA is only a band-aid. We are never going to be able to make these people whole. When I was in Galena last week, we saw several families that have lost everything, just everything. Their house is gone, their possessions are ruined and they didn't have insurance at all. Much less flood insurance, so in that case they will probably qualify for some federal assistance," Lincoln said.
Lincoln says over 460 people registered for individual assistance last week.
FEMA has set up mobile disaster recovery centers in Wayne, Phelps, Jefferson and Stone counties.
To register for the Individual Assistance Program you can call 1-800-621-3362 or find a link to FEMA on our website at www.ksmu.org.
For KSMU News, I'm Kristian Kriner.