special report

FEMA looks for final R.I. push on aid

DEBRIS PILED UP last month outside the Macy’s department store at the Warwick Mall, which was hit hard by the record flooding in late March.
Posted 5/5/10

PROVIDENCE – The Federal Emergency Management Agency launched a campaign this week to encourage Rhode Islanders affected by the flooding in March to register with the agency. Registering is the first step toward receiving federal assistance.

FEMA described the campaign, “Tell your Neighbor,” as “a coordinated effort to make sure communities and residents get their recovery under way, and no one is left behind.” The agency provides financial aid to homeowners and renters. It has also teamed up with the U.S. Small Business Administration, which provides low-interest loans to businesses affected by the flooding.

“Disaster assistance is not charity; this is federal taxpayer money set aside specifically for disaster assistance,” FEMA said in a news release. “The assistance one individual may receive will not take away from another applicant’s federal assistance funds.”

The agency continues to operate Disaster Recovery Centers in Bristol, Cranston, Wakefield, Westerly and West Warwick, although the centers in Bristol and Westerly will close Friday. FEMA’s center in Cumberland closed Tuesday.

FEMA encouraged people to register at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The SBA can be reached at 1-800-659-2955 for information and assistance or online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

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