FEMA help available for people in 11 tornado-affected counties

FEMA teams are also setting up disaster recovery centers in affected counties to assist people in person.

It’s been nearly two months since strong storms spawned nine tornadoes in Ohio, stretching from the Indiana border to the Mansfield area. FEMA assistance is now available to people in 11 counties.

Homeowners and renters with disaster losses in Auglaize, Crawford, Darke, Delaware, Hancock, Licking, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Richland and Union counties can now apply for disaster assistance from FEMA. This can be done by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362, downloading the FEMA mobile app, or going online to disasterassistance.gov. FEMA teams are also setting up disaster recovery centers in affected counties to assist people in person.

“Not all disasters are the same. This goes for survivors; we need to hear your story and how it impacted you. This also enters into the reporting process. We need to know exactly what happened to ensure we are able to provide the services we offer,” said Craig Browning, a FEMA spokesperson.

Browning said it was difficult to put a number on what people could claim because the extent of the destruction from March 14 was so great.

“There’s really no set number. Because the way a specific storm or catastrophic event affected one person, their neighbor may have been affected differently,” he said.

In Delaware County, Berkshire Campground is starting to look like normal again. The campsite was hit hard by the storms. Many people live there most of the year or all year round in RVs and RVs.

“We are on this ground here. The wind came straight. He took my camper and moved it to the middle of the road,” Leslie Kirkman said. “When I came back I had to redo all my bottom jacks, redo the canvas and do the front jack, luckily the base stayed together.”

Leslie Kirkman moved her pop-up camper to the campground just 10 days before the tornadoes. On March 14, she closed her camper and went out.

She has insurance and was covered, but not everyone was.

“At least I think most of us have insurance too. I know it is,” she said. “Honestly, I feel bad for everyone who didn’t have insurance. Motorhomes aren’t cheap and it’s not cheap to live in them. It’s obviously cheaper than a house. When your whole life is in a box, everything inside is valuable.

Browning said that’s where FEMA assistance comes in. It picks up where insurance payments, or your own savings, left off.

“We could potentially supplement someone who is potentially underinsured or doesn’t have insurance,” he said.

To register with FEMA, you must have the following information:

  • a current telephone number
  • your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you currently reside
  • your social security number
  • a general list of damages and losses
  • banking information if you choose direct deposit
  • if insured, the policy number or name of your agent and insurance company

Those who have already made or started repairs can still apply for assistance from FEMA. FEMA will inspect your home to determine the amount of assistance you qualify for.

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