FEMA's On Its Way to Help Out Flood Victims

FINDLAY -- Help is on the way for Northwest Ohio victims of last week's devastating floods. FEMA is heading to the area with help, reports News 11's Dick Berry. Already, FEMA has heard from 2,000 local flood victims.

The agency will open six disaster relief centers -- one in each of the six counties. No word yet on specific locations, but when the one in Findlay opens Friday morning at 8:00, expect to find Doug and Lois McCracken at the head of the line.

The McCrackens are part of downtown Findlay's revitalization. They bought and fixed up 13 buildings -- an entire block. But their dreams of being part of the city's renaissance were washed away last week by floodwaters from the nearby Blanchard River. Every building was damaged, and every tenant has moved out -- at least for the time being.

"This is our livelihood. The only income we have is from tenants. And, as you see, they can't be here," Lois said.

That's why the McCrackens will now turn to FEMA for help. They hope to qualify for a low interest loan from the Small Business Administration to get back on their feet.

"We owe quite a bit of money on this already. To re-do this all again is gonna be kind of rough," Doug said.

FEMA recovery centers will open Friday for flood victims like the McCrackens. The agency recommends folks register by phone or online.

"That will smooth out the process. Get your questions answered before you come to the disaster recovery center. At that point, we'll be able to explain in more detail what options are available," said Dolph Diemont, FEMA representative.

And you should get an answer soon. FEMA says it will take only a couple of days before you find out what programs you qualify for.

The McCrackens hope they'll soon be resting easy as FEMA sends in the troops.

To register with FEMA, visit www.fema.gov.

Posted by KO