President Clinton authorized federal assistance Monday for property owners who suffered uninsured damage from this summer’s Pend Oreille River flooding.
“I’m glad to see that the president of the United States can recognize one of the smallest-population, poorest counties with assistance to those that don’t have insurance,” said Pend Oreille County Commission Chairman Joel Jacobsen.
The assistance so far is limited to individuals and businesses, but Jacobsen said he hopes the county and other local governments also will be offered help. He said the county spent about $300,000 to help flood victims.
No decision has been made yet on whether to reimburse local governments for flood assistance, but money is available for work designed to prevent life-threatening flood problems in the future.
Pend Oreille property owners have reported almost $5 million in damage, but officials don’t know how much of the loss was uninsured and eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance.
Nellie Ann Mills, FEMA coordinator for the Pend Oreille disaster, urged victims to begin registering their claims at 8 a.m. today by calling (800) 462-9029. They must call within 60 days even if they previously reported their estimated damages.
Interviews take about 20 minutes. Callers should be prepared to discuss any insurance coverage they may have as well as details of their losses, Mills said.
She said three types of assistance are available: Grants to repair minor damage or rental assistance while more substantial repairs are made; low-interest Small Business Administration loans for individuals as well as businesses; and special assistance up to $13,100 for “serious” needs that can’t be met by the first two programs.
Grants are limited to work necessary to make a house “safe, sanitary and secure.” Vacation homes are not eligible for assistance except, in some cases, for Small Business Administration loans, Mills said.
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