Two months after record-breaking spring floods in New England, residents are still applying for assistance in the seven Massachusetts counties designated as federal disaster areas. As a result, state and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials have extended the registration deadline until June 28.
According to FEMA, over 34,000 residents have applied for federal assistance since March 29, when Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester counties were declared major disaster areas by President Obama.
Torrential rains from a series of storms that began March 12 and continued during much of April caused streams, lakes, and rivers to rise to record levels. The high water level closed roads and caused evacuations and extensive damage.
According to FEMA, as of May 26 more than $71 million had been approved in grants and loans for individuals and businesses.
Assistance is available for many disaster-related losses such as expenses for home repairs and temporary rentals, as well as for medical expenses and replacement of personal property. In addition, low-interest loans are available through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Advice and guidance is also provided.
Most Massachusetts Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC), where people have been able to get information and apply for assistance in person, have closed. The DRC in Plymouth County, in Lakeville, at the Free Public Library will remain open until June 4. According to officials, it has been the busiest of the DRCs.
Victims of the flooding in these seven counties can still register with FEMA until June 28 by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) any day between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for people with speech or hearing disabilities.
Multilingual assistance is available. Applications can be done online at FEMA’s website, www.disasterassistance.gov .