EMA officials opening new recovery centers in Lee County

Tornado recovery continues in Lee County

LEE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Lee County residents are still recovering from the deadly storms that devastated parts of the area less than two weeks ago.

Local, state, and federal emergency management agency officials are working together to make sure that survivors get all of the assistance they need, and the benefits they qualify for.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials say inspectors have been out working and they’ve seen some cases of people being denied benefits, but that doesn’t always mean they didn’t qualify.

“Some of those letters might in fact say that you are not eligible for assistance,” said FEMA spokesperson Mike Wade. “It doesn’t mean that you’re not eligible, it just means that there’s an issue that needs to be resolved. In instances where they have insurance we cannot, by law, duplicate any benefit that they are eligible for from their insurance company. So that process really needs to be take care of really before we can start handing them some money from us.”

Officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration are also offering their assistance. They say residents may not realize that they qualify for a low-interest loans to help them get back on their feet, and want to make sure that all survivors know that they’re available to help more than just local business owners.

“We provide the large sums of money for recovery,” said Karen Knapik of the U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Office. “As part of the FEMA registration process, you may be contacted by SBA. When you see that on your cellphone and it says ‘Small Business Administration,’ don’t ignore it. You’re being contacted for a reason and we want you to complete that federal application process, answer the questions and let us see what your eligible for.”

Officials are closing the FEMA mobile registration centers Thursday at 7 p.m. and will be opening two new disaster recovery centers Friday at 7 a.m., and they will remain open until 7 p.m. Those centers will have officials available to answer any questions that residents may have.

The new centers will be located at Providence Baptist Church and Mount Olive Baptist Church. Those locations will be open every day until FEMA officials say they are no longer needed.

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