The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Tornado Outbreak 2011

July 21, 2011

Storm victims asked to stay in touch

The deadline to register with FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration passed Monday, but officials are urging victims of the April 27 tornadoes who applied for funds to stay in touch.

A press release from FEMA asked that anyone who has changed contact information, settled an insurance claim or changed housing arrangements to call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 and give status updates. Phone lines are open each day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The release also urged storm victims who want to track the status of an SBA loan or have other questions to visit disaster loan outreach centers. The closest center for Limestone residents is located at Monrovia Church of Christ at 595 Nance Road in Madison.

As of Tuesday, 87,405 survivors in 43 disaster declared counties had registered with FEMA by Monday’s deadline. In Limestone County, 2,680 people registered and $1,639,268 had been disbursed to eligible registrants.

Statewide, more than $65 million has been approved for individual assistance with more than $64.7 million disbursed. More than $46.8 million has been approved for temporary housing and funds for basic home repairs with more than 46.6 million disbursed. More than $18.1 million has been granted for essential personal property and other serious disaster-related needs.

The SBA has issued 45,296 applications, but only 5,199 were returned. Of those, 1,283 applications have been approved, providing $72.7 million in low-interest loans. About 381 loan applications were pending as of Tuesday.

Additional needs

Community and faith-based volunteers are continuing to help Alabama survivors through Connect Alabama. Storm survivors can call 2-1-1 at any time or visit  the website at http://211connectsalabama.org/ to get information and referrals.

Other storm victims may benefit by having a conversation with a counselor. The Alabama Department of Mental Health, FEMA and other agencies are providing a toll-free crisis counseling hotline and personnel to provide outreach and crisis counseling to storm victims.

Those with Alabama area codes may call 800-639-REBOUND (7326) at any time to speak with a counselor or to learn about other family resources. All calls are confidential.

Residents can also visit www.mh.alabama.gov to find free publications to help cope with stress.

Storm victims with disaster-related legal questions can receive help from a team of volunteer lawyers with the Alabama State Bar.

Residents can call 800-354-6154 Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. More information, including free publications about disaster-related legal problems, can be found at www.vlpbirmingham.org/disaster-legal-information.

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