FEMA help still available

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Financial aid is still available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for victims of the May 6 tornado.

FEMA officials will be stationed at Jackson's National Guard armory from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday until further notice.

As of Thursday, 158 people in Cape Girardeau County had applied for FEMA assistance. Twenty-two had applied in Scott County, two in Bollinger and one in Stoddard.

Eugene Brezany, a spokesman for FEMA, said all sorts of assistance are available, even if a person wasn't directly affected. If a person's workplace was hit and he or she is out of work, for example, there is FEMA assistance for that.

"We haven't announced a deadline, but we're urging people to apply as soon as possible," Brezany said. "It's good to start the process even if you're waiting on insurances. We want to get people in the system so we don't miss them."

Statewide, FEMA has received 4,775 applications since May 7. It has cut 1,224 checks for $4.1 million so far.

County residents whose homes were destroyed also learned last week that they won't have to pay property taxes on that property for the rest of the year.

County Auditor David Ludwig, who oversees the county's finances, said the lost revenue isn't what is most important.

"These people, these victims have no homes," he said. "There's no reason for them to incur more hardship. The county is sympathetic to their situation and we want to help."

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