FEMA urges victims to visit recovery centers

Sam Ventura, a public information officer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is urging Rockford flood victims to visit FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at 315. N. Main St. before the center closes its doors at 1 p.m., Sept. 22.

After President George W. Bush (R) signed major disaster declarations for Stephenson and Winnebago counties, FEMA opened DRCs in Freeport and Rockford.

Tony Russell, federal coordinating officer, assured, “Closing these recovery centers does not mean we are closing down registrations for disaster assistance.”

Ventura said victims can still register for individual assistance through Oct. 29 by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-3362, or by logging on to www.FEMA.gov.

According to FEMA and IEMA, the toll-free number had received 888 calls from residents of Stephenson and Winnebago counties applying for disaster assistance. According to the same Sept. 17 report, only 291 people had stopped in to the DRCs in Freeport and Rockford for disaster recovery information.

The centers, staffed by representatives of FEMA, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , will remain open 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8-1 on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Of the $1,252,254 in recovery grants approved for the two counties, $1,249,609 had already been disbursed as of Sept. 17.

SBA disaster loans for individuals and businesses can still be applied for by calling 1-800-659-2955, or by visiting www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.

from the Sept. 19 – 25, 2007, issue

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