FEMA and You - Do you qualify for disaster assistance?

Due to the recent catastrophic storms and flooding, Nebraska homeowners, renters and business owners in Boone, Buffalo, Butler, Cass, Colfax, Custer, Dodge, Douglas, Knox, Nemaha, Richardson, Sarpy, Saunders, Thurston and Washington Counties and the Santee Sioux Nation may apply for assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses resulting from recent flooding, straight-line winds and the severe winter storm from the FEMA office located in Fremont, Nebraska.

The initial counties were approved more quickly because Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts asked for an expedited declaration, Howard said. That involved a flyover to indicate the breadth of the disaster. It was immediately granted by President Donald Trump. Other counties, Howard said, will go through a normal process of preliminary assessments before they’re added to the declaration.

Eighty-one Nebraska counties have emergency declarations, and 15 so far, plus one tribal area, have been approved for individual assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Additional counties still are in the process of working with state and FEMA officials to verify damage, said Bob Howard, a FEMA news desk manager. He said he expects more counties to be approved as preliminary assessments are completed.

Howard said the goal of federal disaster assistance is not to “make a family whole.”

“We’re looking at if a home is habitable and what it would take to make it habitable,” Howard said. “It’s not to return it to pre-disaster condition. It’s to make it safe, sanitary and secure.”

To register with FEMA online, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

By phone, call FEMA’s toll-free registration line at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585; or use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS). Telephone registration is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT seven days a week.

For more information on Nebraska’s disaster recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4420.

FOOD BANK FOR THE HEARTLAND

Food Bank for the Heartland is hosting free mobile pantries throughout the state with both shelf-stable and fresh items for individuals and families in need.

A list of the April mobile pantries on the Food Bank’s website: https://foodbankheartland.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/MobilePantry_April.pdf.

Assistance available for lost livestock

Nebraska ag producers who have lost livestock because of extended cold or above-normal precipitation since January can reach out to their county Farm Service Agency office to apply for assistance from the Livestock Indemnity Program. The deadline to apply is April 29.

The program compensates livestock owners and contract growers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to an adverse weather event. The payment rate is based on 75 percent of the average fair market value of the livestock.

A livestock producer must file a notice of loss within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is first apparent. For more information, or to locate a county FSA office, visit www.farmers.gov.

USDA offers other help, too

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping Nebraskans as they recover and rebuild. For a list of all the programs available, please go to https://www.usda.gov/topics/disaster.

In Nebraska, the USDA has several crews conducting aerial surveillance, looking for stranded livestock, in the federal designated disaster areas. If you see stranded or deceased livestock, please report it to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality at 877-253-2603. The USDA has contractors in place to remove livestock carcasses.