Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wise Use of Disaster Funds Will Speed Recovery of Katrina Survivors

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The enormous loss of property and personal items caused by Hurricane Katrina means many families and individuals may have to replace everything they owned. In the face of such great losses, Katrina survivors will need to handle their disaster assistance funds wisely in order to get back on their feet.


“State/FEMA disaster aid will not make everything the way it was; it is designed to start people on the road to recovery,” said Senior Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer, Michael Bolch. “Spending has to reflect that fact.”
Anxious to live as they would normally, many buy things their grant or loan was not intended for. All Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster aid is disbursed to help with specific disaster needs.


“Checks should be deposited in a bank as soon as possible and carrying large sums should be avoided,” Bolch added. “This will make it easier to resist the temptation to make purchases unrelated to disaster losses.”
Officials also advised aid recipients to keep their receipts in case spot checks are made to insure disaster funds are used as intended.


Individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina who want more information concerning their application or those who want to register for disaster assistance should call toll-free, 800-621-FEMA (3362). The speech- or hearing-impaired who use special keyboard equipment (TTY) should call 800-462-7585. The lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Registration via the Internet is available online at www.fema.gov.


FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages the federal response and recovery efforts following an incident of national significance. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

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