Having to meet people at one of their lowest points in life can be hard, but it’s what Scott Thomas and his FEMA colleagues have done for about 800 Arkansans impacted by the recent flooding disaster who had needs beyond what their insurance was able to cover.
Two months later, they’re still here and will probably be here providing assistance for the remaining of the year.
THV11's Marlisa Goldsmith sat down with Thomas to see how the process is going.
“What we’ve asked survivors to do who have been impacted by the disaster, is first contact their insurance company and find out what insurance coverage they have for their losses," said Thomas, who is the FEMA federal coordinating officer for disaster in Arkansas.
"Of course, in the situation where you have a flood, most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover much for a flood,” he said.
That’s where FEMA stepped in.
After the response phase, they quickly transitioned to recovery; making contact with survivors and pairing them with services they needed.
But for some, requests were denied.
“It’s a bureaucratic letter and it’s awful, let me be perfectly frank with you. It doesn’t say right up front what we need. It says right up front you’ve been denied or are ineligible," Thomas explained.
"Several paragraphs down, it then tells you we need this information to continue the process. So again, we encourage survivors, if you get one of those letters, don’t be discouraged by it, don’t throw it away. If it seems confusing, contact our disaster recovery folks and they’ll be happy to work you through the process,” he said.
With Tropical Storm Barry quickly approaching the gulf coast, and Arkansas possibly feeling the impact, Arkansans want to know one thing.
How can people protect themselves should this happen again?
“Get that national flood insurance policy to cover you because your homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover a rising water hazard in your home. We call the homeowner’s insurance policy a best-seller that’s never read,” he answered.
If you're looking for a disaster recovery center, you can find it on FEMA's website or simply download their app.
Starting this weekend, FEMA will begin cutting back on their hours; going to half a day on Saturday and closing on Sunday.