KELSO - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will open a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Kelso at the Kelso Train Depot, 501 S. 1st Street, on Thursday, Dec. 28. This DCR opening brings the total number to five centers for flood recovery.

Before visiting the centers, FEMA advises residents with flood damage from the Nov. 2 through Nov. 11 floods in Pacific, Wahkiakum, Clark and Cowlitz counties to call FEMA's toll-free registration/ information number, 800-621-FEMA (3362), from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. People who have difficulty speaking or hearing may call TTY 800-462-7585.

There was relatively little damage to private property in Pacific County from November's series of soaking storms, but a number of homeowners in Wahkiakum County were flooded out.

Those residents in the Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties who experienced flood damage may be eligible for FEMA individual assistance, while local governments in the Cowlitz, Pacific and Wahkiakum may be eligible for public assistance. Registering with FEMA is the first step to FEMA assistance.

Public assistance benefits primarily municipalities and counties in disaster areas and is usually for roads and buildings damaged by the flooding. Individual assistance benefits homeowners, renters and business owners. If eligible, individuals may qualify for minor repairs on houses, rental assistance and/or other needs such as medical, dental or funeral assistance.

Besides FEMA, also present at the Disaster Recover Center will be the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with low-interest loans for homeowners, renters, businesses of any size and nonprofit organizations. Caseworkers and volunteers from the American Red Cross will be available to assist those in need.

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