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FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers Open to Aid Victims

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ROCKY MOUNT — Starting Monday, people devastated by Floyd's flooding have another place to turn. On Monday, state and federal emergency workers opened up disaster recovery centers in Wilson, Tarboro and Rocky Mount.

TheFederal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, and theSmall Business Administration, SBA, offer programs to help most anyone.

Waterlogged homes, cars and personal belongings must be replaced. That brings another flood of people, Vincent Rice among them, looking for help.

"I got the water out of the carpet, but the carpet still smells like a swamp in there," says Rice.

People, many with nothing but the clothes on their backs, crowded into the disaster recovery centers as they opened.

FEMA requires that people register by calling1-800-462-9029before coming out to the recovery centers where help is available.

"Grants, we have loans, we have personal property, we have automobiles, we have businesses and we can assist them in just about any of those categories," says Jimmy Wheeler of FEMA.

Wheeler says outright grants up to $13,600 are available.

"It has to be a person with no money, no job or something like that and you don't have to repay us back on a grant," he says.

Very few of those affected by Floyd's floods have flood insurance so they must rely on FEMA and the SBA.

Valerie Lyons tried to get back to the home she rents on Monday; she was last there Thursday in a boat.

"I was up to where the street lights are and the water was clear over my road. I couldn't identify my home at all," she says.

Lyons filed with FEMA and the SBA to help pay for rent and her personal belongings.

Homeowners can get low-interest loans up to $200,000 for physical damage to their homes and $40,000 for personal property.

It is very important for those wishing to file for federal assistance to first call1-800-462-9029.

The recovery centers are located at 116 Goldsboro Street in Wilson, 3005 Anaconda Road in Tarboro and 300 SW Main Street in Rocky Mount.

Telephones are being installed in the disaster recovery centers; however, you must get an identification number from FEMA disaster headquarters before you can file for help.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Robert Meikle, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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