FEMA urges flood victims to seek aid

FEMA urges flood victims to seek aid

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A FEMA spokesperson says representatives could on the ground in accessible areas in the next few days. The president's disaster declaration allows flood victims in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa parishes to apply for federal aid. 

"Our primary job is to make sure every survivor can get started so that every survivor feels like, 'I'm on the road. I've made the first step,'" said Caitlin Ostomeo of FEMA

She urges those with damage in areas declared federal disaster areas to apply for aid immediately.
"They need to register with us, it's a couple of different ways. Do it online at disaster assistance.gov or if they'd like to speak to someone call 1-800-621-3362," she said.

"They're going to ask you if you have insurance and if you filed an insurance claim. Do that at the same time."

Ostomeo says FEMA isn't allowed to give you money that insurance has also paid for.

"So, if insurance replaces you sump pump we can't also replace your sump pump as well," she said.

She says other than general information, FEMA will need a copy of your insurance settlement and denials to show what is covered and what is not.

Ostomeo says representatives will contact flood victims for walk throughs of their homes quickly if their property is accessible.

"If you can't get to your property you can get rental assistance potentially if you don't have a place to live.  We can start that process to help you get assistance with temporary housing," she said.

Ostomeo says there is a close partnership with the Small business administration to provide low interest disaster loans that can potentially  take up the slack from what insurance and FEMA don't cover.

She says no FEMA representative will ever ask you for money to get the process started. 

 To register call calling 1-800-621FEMA (3362) or go online to disaster assistance.gov. the toll free number will operate from 7 am to 10 pm local time seven days a week.

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