Wednesday, December 29, 2004

FEMA Extends Deadline

FEMA late Wednesday granted a 60-day extension for hurricane victims in Florida and Alabama who still need to apply for disaster assistance, according to a number of Southeast Florida news sources, including the Tuscaloosa News and Pensacola TV station WEAR-TV.

The initial deadline was this Friday, December 31. The deadline for SBA loan and grant assistance is January 3, 2005. At this writing, it is unknown if SBA will extend its deadline as well.

Earlier today, Patrick Whittle of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that "FEMA officials said they were working with the state [of Florida] to determine if the Friday deadline should be extended." According to Whittle's article, FEMA has received 1.1 million applications, statewide, since Hurricane Charley struck.

Oddly, WEAR-TV's early evening report says the new deadline for Florida residents will be slightly shorter than for Alabamians. "In Florida," the station reports, "the deadline has been extended to February 28th. The new registration deadline is March 3 for Alabama residents."

Could this be because someone thinks Alabama residents read slower?


The web site for FEMA now confirms the early reports. According to FEMA:
At the request of the State of Florida, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has extended the application deadline for hurricane victims disaster assistance registration to February 28, 2005, for the four 2004 hurricanes that made landfall in Florida—Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne.

“With registrations still averaging more than 1,500 a day, it is important to keep the process open until everyone who suffered damage has a chance to call and get registered for assistance,” said Craig Fugate, state coordinating officer.

To register, Floridians should call the FEMA toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those who are speech- or hearing-impaired. Teleregistration hours will be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, seven days a week until further notice. Applicants may also register online at the FEMA website by clicking on the red “hot-link” button in the upper right-hand portion of the page marked “Register for Disaster Assistance Online.”

“Even with the extended deadline for registering we encourage everyone to go ahead and complete the process as soon as possible,” stated Bill Carwile, federal coordinating officer.

Evidently, it is true that Alabama residents will have an extra three days to file their applications for FEMA assistance.

Never let it be said that the federal government in far away Washington isn't sensitive to the differing needs of each state.

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