FEMA disaster hotline launches in aftermath of September storms

Housing inspectors from the federal emergency management agency have been traveling to the areas impacted by the severe storms, flooding, landslides and more.
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 9:13 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been traveling to different villages on a nearly daily basis since the remnants of Typhoon Merbok impacted the west coast of Alaska last month.

They are helping survivors register for FEMA assistance and performing home inspections.

On Wednesday, FEMA teams planned to travel to Newtok and Alakanuk, but were halted due to the weather.

FEMA spokesperson Thomas Kempton says bad weather isn’t uncommon this time of year, causing problems even for those who are trying to help in the aftermath of a weather event of a natural disaster.

The inclement weather on Wednesday meant the only place Bethel-based FEMA inspectors could travel to was Newtok.

“They do inspections of the damage and they also can register FEMA for assistance right there as they’re working and then go directly to look at the house for inspection,” Kempton said.

FEMA has its own relief programs, separate from the state, and it is important to apply for both to get the maximum benefit. While FEMA has programs to help homeowners repair damaged residences, it also offers an “other needs assistance” option, which covers subsistence items.

“Such things as boats and motors, drying racks, fish rack, smokers, smokehouses, other things as ATVs and 4-wheelers, even down to refrigerators,” Kempton said.

A new Alaska-specific disaster hotline is operating on select days to help residents who’ve experienced damages or loss from the storm last month.

For federal registration and help through the Anchorage-based Federal Emergency Management Agency office, call 866-342-1699 or visit the disaster assistance website. Keep in mind, the deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is Nov. 22.

For state registration and help, dial 844-445-7131. The deadline for that is Nov. 17.