BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBMA) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported it has had 2,859 applications submitted from the state of Alabama asking for federal relief following the Jan. 12 tornadoes.
The agency believes that number is still growing.
This is why we are on the ground to make sure that we work on things very smoothly and to also address these issues as they continue to unfold," FEMA Media Relations Specialist Issa Mansaray said. "People are very distressed at this particular moment especially when they have lost homes, when they have lost everything, you see there is a need.
Mansaray said the total approved Individual Household Program funds are currently $1,287,815.87. It's unclear how much of that money has already been distributed to the applicants.
FEMA has been on the ground in different areas throughout the state after a major disaster declaration was approved by President Joe Biden. Autauga and Dallas counties were originally approved for federal assistance and Coosa, Elmore and Hale counties were added to that list late last week.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
"These counties were added because there is a need," Mansaray said. "The disaster affected many of these areas. It was clear some of these counties were added in order people get the help that they want, that they need at this particular stage."
FEMA Survivor Assistance teams are now going door to door in the affected areas of those counties to help people apply in person. Teams survey the damage while asking property owners questions to gather more information about how much assistance is needed for each applicant.
In the next week, FEMA said it expects to set up locations in each county for people to go to talk with FEMA staff in person about their applications but those locations are still being determined.