Spring offers Southcentral residents second look at quake damage
As spring arrives in Southcentral Alaska, state officials are urging people in the region to take another look at potential damage from the Nov. 30 earthquake — and apply for additional state or federal assistance, if necessary.
The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management recommended Thursday that residents in the Municipality of Anchorage, as well as the Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula boroughs, affected by the 7.1 temblor reinspect their homes, reassess their needs and reconsider state individual assistance applications filed before the Feb. 28 deadline. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration are taking applications for disaster assistance or low-interest recovery loans until an extended May 31 deadline.
According to the division, thawing ground may expose additional damage to homes, which in turn may leave residents with additional needs beyond what they originally anticipated. Additional state resources are available for people who have already filed with the state, but there are additional requirements before people can seek them.
“Before requesting reconsideration for State Individual Assistance, an applicant must complete the federal assistance process,” state officials wrote. “This includes submitting an appeal for FEMA Individual Assistance and accepting SBA Disaster Recovery Loans. Once all federal assistance options have been exhausted, State Individual Assistance applicant may apply for reconsideration.”
Division spokesman Jeremy Zidek said it wasn’t clear how much additional state aid people might be eligible for, because those figures are determined on a case-by-case basis.
The state isn’t planning to further extend its application period for individual assistance, which Zidek noted had been extended from an initial deadline of Jan. 29. An initial total of about 14,400 state applications has shrunk to roughly 13,700, after state officials removed duplicate applications.
“At this point there’s no move to re-initiate our [state individual aid] application process, because we feel like we’ve done a good job of capturing the people that had damages,” Zidek said.
People should also file insurance claims and complete their insurers’ claim processes, according to the state.
Here’s an overview from DHSEM of what to look for when reinspecting your home:
Identify previously undiscovered problem areas by reinspecting your foundation, and other structurally significant areas for damages. There may be leaks in the foundation walls and floors in places such as basements or crawl spaces that could begin to show signs of leaking after the ground thaws.
Walls and ceilings may suffer from structural damage. Cracks in sheetrock are signs of stress, but cracks in the sheetrock itself don’t necessarily mean that the structural integrity of the wall or ceiling has been compromised. However, if you can see light, water, or hear/feel cold air coming through the cracks, this may indicate more serious damage.
FEMA applications are being taken at www.disasterassistance.gov online, and 1-800-621-3362 by phone.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include clarifications from DHSEM.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.