Finding Information After a Disaster
Throughout the recovery period, it's important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get:
- Emergency housing
- Financial assistance
- First aid
Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations. The American Red Cross is often stationed right at the scene to help people with their most immediate medical, food and housing needs.
Other voluntary organizations, such as the Salvation Army, may also provide food, shelter and supplies, and assist in cleanup efforts. Church groups and synagogues are often involved as well.
In addition, social service agencies from local or state governments may be available to help people in shelters or provide direct assistance to families.
In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. Small businesses and farmers are also eligible.
Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the U.S. declares a "Major Disaster" for the affected area at the request of a state governor. When this happens, FEMA may establish a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC).
A DRC is a facility established in, or near to, the community affected by the disaster, where persons can meet face-to-face with represented federal, state, local, and volunteer agencies to:
- Discuss their disaster-related needs.
- Learn about measures for rebuilding that can eliminate or reduce the risk of future loss.
- Learn how to complete the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application, which is also the form used to qualify all individuals for low cost loans or grants, including those for repair or replacement of damaged homes and furnishings.
- Obtain information about disaster assistance programs.
- Request the status of their Disaster Housing Application.
- Tele-register for assistance.
- Update registration information.