County: Eruption-Affected Residents Should Register with FEMA

The County of Hawai`i announced on Wednesday that residents who have been affected by the ongoing Puna eruption should register for individual assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, regardless of whether they have a letter from the County stating their damages or costs stemming from the disaster.

“FEMA does not require a letter from the County in order to register;” according to Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn. “Whether a resident has a letter or not is of no consequence as to whether a person can register with FEMA.”

The County may issue letters to residents whose homes have been destroyed or are not accessible.  A copy of that letter can be provided to FEMA, according to Mayor’s Office Executive Assistant Roy Takemoto.

Once a person registers with FEMA, the agency will assess the information provided by the applicant.  If an applicant has a letter from the County attesting that the property is totally destroyed or is not accessible, the letter may be added to the applicants’ file.

In cases where the home is accessible, FEMA will assign an inspector to coordinate an inspection with the home owner, to evaluate the extent of the damages and the home’s habitability.  After that, along with the other information in the file, FEMA will make a determination as to eligibility.

Photo: The northern channel margin of the fissure 8 lava flow. Small hill in the distance is the site of our PGcam. Overflows from the channel can be seen producing shiny black to silver pahoehoe flows (incandescent red breakout visible in center of photo). These flows are building up the channel margins and making the levees more robust. USGS photo.