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Deadline nears for flood assistance

East-bound lanes of Interstate 70 closed due to Dardenne Creek flooding in late December.

East-bound lanes of Interstate 70 closed due to Dardenne Creek flooding in late December.

Midnight on March 21, 2016, is the deadline for Missourians in the 33 counties designated for federal aid due to losses from the severe storms and flooding Dec. 23, 2015, to Jan. 9, 2016, to register for two types of federal assistance.

Grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] can help eligible individuals and families pay for rent if the disaster displaced them from their homes, make basic home repairs, or cover other serious disaster-related losses. Both property owners and renters may be eligible. The grants do not have to be repaid.

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are the main form of federal assistance following a disaster. SBA makes disaster loans available to businesses of all sizes, most nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters. Without a loan, many of those with disaster losses would be unable to rebuild and recover.

People with insurance are among those encouraged to register, as they may find after the deadline that FEMA can help them with losses not covered. Similarly, individuals who have minor damage should register, because they may find out after the deadline passes that their repairs are more extensive than originally expected.

Eligible parties can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling (800) 621-3362 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week. Multilingual registration assistance is available. Survivors also may register using the fema.gov app for smartphones.

Disaster assistance applicants who are hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use TTY should call (800) 462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service should call (800) 621-3362.

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