Disaster aid centers to open this week
Disaster recovery centers will open on Oahu and Kauai on Tuesday to aid residents and businesses whose properties were damaged earlier this year by heavy rain and flooding.
Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and city departments will offer information on grants and loans available to victims of the stormy weather that lasted from Feb. 19 to April 2.
The Oahu Disaster Recovery Center will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at Kualoa Ranch, 49-560 Kamehameha Highway.
On Kauai the center at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Saturday.
People should register beforehand by telephone or online, said Michael Karl, federal coordinating officer. They may call the toll-free FEMA number 800-621-3362 between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. The hearing- or speech-impaired should call 800-462-7585.
To register online, go to www.fema.gov.
Karl said callers will be asked for information about their income, insurance coverage and damage to their property as well as personal identification.
Assistance available includes grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other expenses, and low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration for losses not fully covered by insurance, according to the announcement.
President Bush's declaration of major disaster issued Tuesday opened the way for government aid to Hawaii storm victims.
State and county officials have been calling people who reported damage during the storms or sought information about aid, said Edward Texeira, vice director of the state Civil Defense Agency, who was designated state coordinator for disaster recovery operations. He said even property owners whose damage was covered by insurance should register with FEMA.