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Page 2 - the rest of the storyPosted Tuesday, April 29, 2008, at 7:29 AM
Abid Hussein of FEMA distributes flood information to Lela Brown, who lives on one of the Advance streets flooded on March 18, 2008. Though the Advance Recovery Center was closed on Saturday, April 26, residents may still register online or by phone until May 27, 2008.
In particular, a casual remark I reported on from an Advance Board of Alderman meeting sparked the agency to investigate the source and set the record straight.
One of the aldermen had repeated something a friend had told him - that one of the victims of the flooding had said all he received from FEMA was "$90.00 and a bottle of bleach." (Actually, he also mentioned a mop, but I didn't remember that...)
As is often the case, there is more to the story than meets the eye... The $90.00, the mop, and the bleach were actually given to the man by the Red Cross - not FEMA. This individual lived nowhere near a river but had 18 inches of water in a location which had never flooded before. FEMA did give him approximately $100, but, since he had insurance, he didn't qualify for more.
Jack Heesch, FEMA Public Relations Director for this area, gave me some recent figures, which I think are relevant to this discussion: As of yesterday, April 28, 2008, FEMA had registered 4,833 people in a 35-county area and dispersed $10.200 million in flood relief funds. In Stoddard County, 167 people are registered with FEMA. The Advance Recovery Center, which closed Saturday, registered 158 individuals from the surrounding area.
Though not all the claims have been processed, approximately 73 have received the maximum grants from FEMA - $28,000.
Jack Heesch reports that some homes are experiencing "repetitive damage," so the owners need to call FEMA and report this, as they may qualify for more assistance.
Heesch also emphasized that SBA (the Small Business Administration) is set up to handle the long-term recovery process with low interest loans - as I originally reported on my first FEMA blog. From what I understand, the Jackson and Piedmont recovery sites have been switched over to SBA for this purpose.
Here is the contact information for FEMA:
If you were affected by the floods -- even if the mess is all cleaned up -- call FEMA's toll-free registration line, 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585), from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, or register online at www.fema.gov. You may be eligible for help.
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at email@example.com.