Obama declares major disaster for Oso landslide

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by KING 5 News and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 2 at 8:30 PM

OLYMPIA  — President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster for damage caused by a deadly landslide in Washington state.

The declaration makes programs available to help individuals and businesses affected by the March 22 slide that killed more than two dozen people.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday that the declaration also provides help for debris removal and emergency measures such as barricades, sand bags and safety personnel.

In asking for more federal assistance, Inslee said in his request Monday that about 30 families need help with housing and other needs.

Inslee has said estimated financial losses have reached $10 million.

During a Wednesday evening news conference, Snohomish County officials urged anyone who was impacted by the slide to register for assistance with FEMA.

Watch: Wednesday evening news conference on FEMA assistance

"The simple fact is if you don't register for federal assistance with FEMA, you can't receive federal assistance," said Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington. "One of the things our experience has taught is that people think they have registered with FEMA by registering in other programs. If you called our call center during the response early in this event, or you called human services or you called the Red Cross and you did various registrations, that's wonderful and extraordinary helpful. But what's most helpful at this point, as this new clock starts to tick, is that you register with FEMA. None of those previous registrations matter."

Individuals and families are urged to call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to get information about federal assistance. Pennington said assistance for individuals and families include, but is not limited to, housing assistance, disaster unemployment programs and funeral expenses.  Pennington also said three FEMA disaster recovery centers will be set up - one in Arlington, Darrington and Oso - where people can also walk-in for help.

"My message is really clear - anyone who was impacted by this disaster really in any form up and down the 530 corridor, including our tribal neighbors and partners, should register for FEMA," said Pennington. "I would much rather us get into that system and discuss whether their eligibility exists now, as opposed to being left out later in the disaster process."

More information can be found the FEMA website www.disasterassistance.gov.

Individuals with speed or hearing impairment can call 1-800-462-7585.

 

 

 

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