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President approves disaster declaration, federal assistance ordered

Looking east along Highway 1 during a flooding event in the Sumas Prairie region (November 16, 2021). Photo: BC Hydro

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Officials with the Whatcom County Division of Emergency Management announced today, January 6th, that United States President Joe Biden yesterday declared the mid-November flooding event a major disaster and ordered federal assistance be made available to assist in the recovery from the damage.

Whatcom County Receives Individual Assistance Declaration

WHATCOM COUNTY, WA – United States President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Washington State yesterday (Wed. Jan. 5, 2022) and ordered federal assistance to help the communities recovering from the historic floods in November 2021.

The President’s declaration will make federal funding available to Whatcom County, along with the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Indian Tribe after the devastating floods and landslides. This will supplement local recovery efforts with Individual Assistance and Hazard Mitigation funding from the historic flooding and storms that have caused the worst natural disaster since Whatcom County was formed as a County in 1864.

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The declaration states the funding “…can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”

“This Individual Assistance Declaration is a major step forward in helping our communities recover from the floods,” said Sheriff Bill Elfo. “Over the coming days and weeks, our Division of Emergency Management will be working with FEMA and State officials to open local Disaster Field Office(s) to serve our community.”

As individuals register with FEMA, a FEMA inspector will contact them to set up an inspection of their residence. They will be carrying FEMA or a FEMA contractor badge. If someone claiming to be an inspector does not have a FEMA ID, and they don’t show it when asked, they probably aren’t a FEMA inspector. Unfortunately, after disasters, there is an increase in potential fraud and we want to make sure everyone is aware of what will be happening in their communities.

Residents and business owners can apply for assistance by registering online HERE or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). Local information is available by calling the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management 1-360-676-6681.

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management press release (January 6, 2022)

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