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Looking for those who need flood help

June 1, 2018
Federal Emergency Management Agency specialists have been in the area throughout May, knocking on doors in the areas hit hardest by the February’s floods to field register those who need help and provide additional information. Thursday was the last day one of FEMA’S roving Disaster Recovery Centers was set up in the Brown Gym. The centers connect disaster survivors to FEMA program specialists to help them register for flood aid and learn more about other aid programs and options that they may be eligible for after registered with FEMA. As of Thursday, $2.3 million in FEMA assistance had been approved to help Hoosiers recover from flood damage, according to data from Troy York, FEMA media specialist. Almost 1,900 registrations had been received by May 31. Online registration can continue at DisasterAssistance.gov until July 5. The FEMA representatives going door-to-door said they’ve heard heart-wrenching stories from Jefferson County residents and tried to assist those who have tried and failed to get adequate financial aid from other avenues. “People don’t think they can register,” said Gregory Moore, one of the FEMA disaster team members. “They don’t understand what FEMA does...we are here to try to explain some of the programs FEMA offers.” Catalina Echevarria, who is also part of the Disaster Survivor Assistance team, and Moore both said many people they have spoken with in Jefferson County and in other disaster recovery efforts don’t understand all of what FEMA offers them and how to best navigate getting signed up for the right programs. “We are here to help,” said Echevarria. “Everything is decided on a case-by-case basis.” Each case is different, said the FEMA representatives. So, one resident may be eligible for programs that their neighbor is not and vice versa. The uniqueness of any one registrant’s circumstances is why FEMA representatives reach out to those who might miss out on much-needed aid. There is a DRC at the Utica Town Hall, 107 North Fourth Street, in Clark County operating from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Small Business Association representatives and the State of Indiana are available to help anyone filling out applications or updating status. More information can be obtained from the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 about registering for aid, flood insurance policies and other assistance programs. Courier Staff Writer Tali Hunt can be reached at thunt@madisoncourier.com or at 812-265-3641 ext. 234
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