Alaskans with earthquake damage receiving relief funds
State and federal funds are starting to reach Southcentral Alaska residents who applied for disaster relief after the massive Nov. 30 earthquake.
Jeremy Zidek, with the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the state has paid out over $450,000 in assistance following the 7.0 temblor. So far the Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized $89,000 in aid, according to spokesman Jack Heesch.
Officials from both agencies are reminding people requesting assistance to apply for both the state and federal programs. That can be done online at www.ready.alaska.gov for state programs and www.disasterassistance.gov for FEMA . The state's assistance hotline is 1-855-445-7131, while FEMA's registration number is 800-621-3362. The state deadline to apply is Feb. 28; people have until April 1 to sign up with FEMA.
Heesch said FEMA workers will also be in the lobby at Anchorage's Loussac Library this week to help people sign up for aid. He said people don't need documentation of their damage right away. After registering, they'll be contacted by an inspector who will make an appointment to visit their home or business.
"That's a good time for you to have photographs of the damage if you've already fixed it," Heesch said. "If you have estimates or receipts for stuff you've already fixed, have that."
Once an inspection is made, Heesch said, things can happen fast.
"Within a few days after your inspector has been there, he will file his report and a determination is made on what financing assistance will be provided," Heesch said. "Direct deposit happens the next day."
Renters can also apply for assistance if personal items were damaged in the quake, but Heesch said nobody should expect to be fully compensated for everything they lost.
"We would like to see everybody get back to let's say normal, and we are going to provide as much help as we can to do that," he said. "Our goal is to make people safe, sanitary and secure. That does not mean that you are going to get your house rebuilt or perhaps back to what it was before."
People who need further assistance could qualify for low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration, according to Heesch. He said FEMA can help people sign up for those as well.
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