FEMA deadline nears

Pine Belt residents who were affected by the Jan. 21 tornado have until March 27 to register with FEMA and apply for Small Business Administration loans.

 According to FEMA Public Information Officer Alberto Pillot, survivors of the devastating storms and tornadoes in Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties have two weeks remaining to register for possible disaster assistance and to return applications for low-interest disaster loans to the U.S. Small Business Administration. More than 2,100 have applied for assistance so far. The deadline for both is March 27.

“We’re getting close to the deadline in the disaster recovery process and urge all of those who need to register to do so soon,” said Pillot. “There’s still time.”

Currently, more than $8.3 million in state and federal assistance has been approved for survivors in the three Pine Belt counties as well as Lauderdale County.

Of that amount, FEMA has awarded nearly $3 million in grants to survivors while the Small Business Administration has approved 99 loans for nearly $5.4 million in low-interest SBA disaster loans.

Those with damage are also encouraged to remain in touch with their FEMA representative.

The Disaster Recovery Center continues to be open at the C.E. Roy Community Center in Hattiesburg. Anyone with damage from any county can visit that center as DRC’s in both Lamar and Perry counties have already been closed.

Those filing for assistance need to bring documentation from insurance and other pertinent records.

FEMA disaster assistance for individuals and families can include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

You can contact FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or disaster assistance.gov and also visit the recovery center, C.E. Roy Community Center, 300 East 5th Street in Hattiesburg.