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FEMA derecho storm-damage deadlines approaching

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Deadlines are approaching to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help in the wake of the June 29 derecho storm and its aftermath.

Last month, FEMA agreed to provide individual assistance to residents of Kanawha, Fayette, Raleigh and Nicholas counties who suffered damage from massive storm systems that knocked out electricity to some areas of the state for two weeks. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has since asked that individual assistance be extended to residents in 20 additional counties.

A disaster relief center has been set up at the South Charleston Community Center to sign up for FEMA aid, but deadlines to ask for help are approaching, said Kanawha County Emergency Services Director Dale Petry.

"It's kind of like taxes," Petry said. "People wait until the last minute to turn in their taxes. Don't wait too long on this."

Petry said the deadline is Monday to ask for federal unemployment assistance. He said FEMA may reimburse county residents for part of their salaries during the storms if they either couldn't get to work, or if their workplace had no electricity during the storms, keeping them from doing their jobs.

To sign up for unemployment assistance, Kanawha County residents can go to the WorkForce West Virginia office at 1321 Plaza East, Charleston. Call 304-558-0291 for more information, or visit www.workforcewv.org.

The deadline was originally set for Tuesday to sign up for assistance at the disaster relief center at the South Charleston Community Center on Jefferson Road. Petry said that deadline may be extended if FEMA approves additional counties for individual assistance.

County residents will have until Nov. 19 to apply by telephone or via the Internet for Small Business Administration low-interest loans to rebuild or repair storm damage. Call 1-800-659-2955 or visit www.disasterassistance.go to register for FEMA aid. SBA loan forms can be downloaded from www.sba.gov.Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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