ROCKY MOUNT — Victims of Hurricane Floyd have more time to apply for help from FEMA. Tuesday morning, FEMA announced that it will extend the deadline for applications to January 18. The filing period was set to expire tonight at 6.
FEMA says it extended the deadline because new cases are coming in every day. Just last week, more than 1,500 people applied for help. This is the second time FEMA has extended the deadline.
David Diggs is exactly the person FEMA wants to see. His Wilson home was flooded -- but not ruined. He did not know he could apply for help until his sister told him to try.
"He hadn't realized he could get help because it didn't get all over his house," says Dorothy Graham.
Some are worried that thousands of flood victims do not know they are eligible and have not had time to act. FEMA is asking anyone with damage who has not yet applied to call as soon as possible.
FEMA says the biggest misconception is that your house has to be ruined in order to apply for aid. That is not the case.
"A lot of times when they are waiting on insurance settlements they think they can't apply to FEMA or the SBA until their settlement is made. Don't wait. Go ahead and apply for that immediately," says James McIntyre, of FEMA Public Affairs.
There is no guarantee the money will come, but it is important that you apply if you have not already.
Assistance is available in disaster declared counties by calling FEMA at 1-800 462-9029.
State officials have asked FEMA to give Hurricane Floyd victims an extra month to apply for disaster aid.
Eric Tolbert, head of the state Division of Emergency Management, requested the extension in a letter sent to FEMA over the weekend, noting that 195 people a day over the past month continued to register for assistance.
State officials also say 3,500 people have requested help housing counselors during the last five weeks.
Hurricane Floyd destroyed 7,000 homes in eastern North Carolina; another 17,000 are uninhabitable. An estimated 56,000 homes were damaged by the storm and its flood waters.
As of last week, more than 77,000 people in the 66 counties in the disaster area had registered for assistance. From staff and wire reports.