The Federal Emergency Management Agency was in Flagler and Putnam County today to continue assessing the damage that Hurricane Matthew left up the east coast of Florida.
FEMA is working closely with the state of Florida, local officials and the Small Business Administration to make up Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) teams.
These PDA teams are going to the hardest hit areas to look at homes, apartments, condos and businesses that were damaged or destroyed from the hurricane.
“We are trying to assess the full scope of Hurricane Matthew’s impact,” John Mills, FEMA spokesperson, said.
“We’re also trying to assess the continuing unmet needs of the communities impacted by Hurricane Matthew, and what options are available to meet those needs.”
Residents with damage are advised to file insurance claims, document damage with photos, save receipts for purchases related to hurricane damages and to save any other documentation that they have.
After the PDA teams have finished damage assessments, it will then be determined if individual assistance will be approved.
If it is approved, FEMA grant money may be available for home repairs, rental assistance or other damages, but individual assistance is not guaranteed.
By law, FEMA is only able to pay for what insurance does not cover, so the first step is to file insurance claims, said Mills.
If individual assistance is approved, residents can call 800-621-FEMA or they can register online at disasterassistance.gov. Money may be available to residents for home repair, temporary rental assistance or other needs such as replacing personal property that was damaged.
Federal Public Assistance aid for emergency protective measures and debris removal has been approved. Local governments will receive a 75 percent federal share reimbursement of those disaster related expenses that communities are going to incur.
“The federal government can pay 75 percent of those disaster related expenses, and this will lessen the burden on a community as a whole,” Mills said.
Businesses that were damaged from Hurricane Matthew are also advised to report claims to their insurance companies. Recovery information can be found at flvbeoc.org or by calling 850-410-1403.
“We understand that some people still don’t have power, we understand that some people are hurting because of Hurricane Matthew,” Mills said.
“That’s why we are going to work very closely with local communities and the state to see what those unmet needs are.”