FEMA disaster relief available for county

Some Shelby County residents may be eligible for part of a $4 million dollar aid package to compensate for recent damages created by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.

In light of the severe weather that has pummeled much of the state in previous weeks, Shelby County was one of 32 Alabama counties recently declared a federal disaster area by President George W. Bush.

May was among the wettest months ever recorded in Shelby County, according to the National Weather Service. At times as much as seven inches of rain fell on some cities in a period as brief as one or two hours.

A tornado touched the ground in Wilsonville on May 7, tearing through the Homestead subdivision near Lay Lake and damaging as many as 10 homes, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

And several homes and businesses in the county have experienced damages due to flooding and high water, said Don Greene of the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency.

Shelby County was designated for assistance to affected individuals by President Bush’s May 12 major disaster declaration.

That assistance could come in the form of grants for temporary housing, repairs and personal property for individuals and households, said Lynne Keating of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Help could also include low interest loans to homeowners, renters and business owners.

More than $4 million in federal and state disaster assistance has been approved for residents of Alabama’s 32 declared counties, recovery officials said last week.

The counties where individuals and families are eligible for the aid are Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Bullock, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Macon, Madison, Marshall, Morgan, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa and Walker.

In order to apply for disaster assistance, residents are asked to call the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster assistance hotline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 for the speech and hearing impaired.

Applicants will be asked to give information about their income, insurance, the damage to their residence and housing needs.

Officials ask that applicants have the following information available when calling: social security number (including spouse), address and zip code of the damaged property, directions to the damaged home or property and telephone numbers where you can be reached during the day