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Island County added to FEMA's earthquake disaster list

"Island County residents whose property sustained damage during the earthquake that occurred Feb. 28 can now receive federal financial assistance.Charlie Henderson, public information officer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), made the rounds in Island County Monday to announced the county's addition to the list of counties included in the federal disaster declaration.Island County was hardly leveled by the 6.8 level earthquake, but Henderson said some damage was reported. As of Monday, there had been seven individual property damage filings from county residents, he said.The numbers aren't staggering, Henderson said. But he noted that some of the earthquake damage takes time to detect, such as damage to underground sewer systems or rooftop chimneys. FEMA inspectors in three major mainland counties found damage to 50 percent of the chimneys inspected.People who suspect their homes or businesses may have earthquake damage should simply phone in a report by calling FEMA toll-free at 1-800-462-9029. Hearing or speech impaired individuals can call TTY 1-800-462-7585.Once the report is made, Henderson said, a FEMA inspector will show up at the site in three or four days to assess the damage. FEMA staff will provide damage evaluation checklists, advice on selecting contractors, do-it-yourself suggestions and information on making structural and non-structural changes and upgrades.Some federal disaster aid for basic sanitary and safety repairs does not have to be paid back. For other damage low interest federal loans are available.Region-wide, 10,365 property owners have requested federal help to repair earthquake damage, according to Henderson. To date, FEMA has approved over $8 million in disaster assistance for homeowners. "

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