Delegation: FEMA To Expedite Assessments For Individual Assistance

WASHINGTON – Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate today told the state’s congressional delegation that the agency will expedite damage assessments to accelerate approval of North Dakota’s request for Individual Assistance (IA) services for residents hard hit by unprecedented flooding.  

The commitment means FEMA will not wait for flood waters to recede before beginning to document damages, but rather will use aerial assessments and other means to expedite the process, making an earlier determination possible.  

The news came in a conference call this afternoon arranged by Senator John Hoeven that included Senator Kent Conrad and Congressman Rick Berg. Also on the call was FEMA Regional Administrator Robin Finegan from Denver Region VIII, who will join the delegation in Minot Friday with a team to begin the IA assessment process. 

“Today’s mandatory evacuation of more than 11,000 Minot residents dramatically underscored the pressing and timely need for FEMA to approve Individual Assistance services for them and for other North Dakotans displaced by this year’s unprecedented flooding,” the delegation said in a joint statement. “The decision to accelerate the assessment process will bring much needed encouragement to many during a very trying time.” 

While it will not cover all damages, FEMA’s Individual Assistance program can help mitigate the worst losses for those with low and moderate incomes. IA can help eligible applicants with temporary housing assistance, uninsured personal property losses and medical, dental, and funeral expenses caused by a disaster, along with other disaster-related expenses and serious needs. Low-interest disaster loans from the United States Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not covered by insurance.

The program also includes “Other Needs Assistance,” which may cover medical, transportation, moving and storage, and other expenses associated with personal loss due to flooding.  People who have lost their jobs or are unable to reach their place of work may also be eligible for assistance.