FEMA Officials: We're here to help - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FEMA Officials: We're here to help

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CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- Federal funds are now available for the area hit by the March 2nd storms in Tennessee.  Storm survivors in Hamilton, Bradley, McMinn and Polk counties are among the people in 10 counties eligible for federal aid.

FEMA officials tell Channel 3 they are here, they are ready to help people, and they hope victims take advantage.

Monday, Channel 3 returned to Harrison where residents are still sifting through what's left of their home.

"Sometime I imagine what it would be like if a tornado hit my house," volunteer, Shawn Kim says. "I don't think I could take it."

Dozens of Collegedale Academy students pick up storm debris one by one almost three weeks after an EF-3 tornado tore through the Harrison community.

"This means a lot to these people, because this can happen to anyone," Kim says.

"I am very humbled because all of this can happen and be gone, just like that," Ryan Glantz says.

Much of the neighborhood is in ruins.

Many residents have already salvaged what they could and moved on.

Jack Mitchell lost everything after the storm and says, what he has left, is thanks to volunteers.

"It has been a long process and we could not have done it without everyone," Mitchell says. "We had volunteers from everywhere."

Now more help is on the way. FEMA representatives are on the ground throughout the Tennessee Valley spreading the word that federal dollars are available, if needed.

"The first call you should make is to your insurance company and the second is to FEMA," FEMA Spokeswoman Susan Solomon says.

The government paid out nearly $300-million for April's tornado and though this won't be the same amount, FEMA officials say they are prepared to help as many people as possible.

Mitchell says once he decides where to start his new life, he hopes to one day return the favor.

"When this is all done and behind us, I would sure like to help someone if I get the opportunity," Mitchell says.

Storm victims can begin applying for assistance by clicking here to register online, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

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