Friday, March 21, 1997
Coping tips for victims

Getting federal aid

President Clinton has declared 93 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana disaster areas, and residents and business owners in those areas are eligible for emergency financial relief.

People in the Tristate who are unemployed because of flooding may also file for federal disaster unemployment benefits.

Coverage is available only to those who would not be covered by state jobless programs, officials said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has hot lines that will coordinate flood assistance. Call (800) 462-9029 (to apply for aid) or (800) 525-0321 (for jobless benefits and other questions). TDD users should call (800) 462-7585.

Calls will be answered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Food stamp aid available

Flood victims in six Ohio counties are eligible for emergency food stamp benefits.

Residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed may apply for the stamps, even if not normally eligible for the program. Eligibility is based on available income less disaster-related expenses. Food stamps may not be used for alcoholic beverages, tobacco or non-food items.

Applications will be accepted until March 21 at these Department of Human Services offices:

Adams County: 482 Rice Drive, West Union. 544-2371.

Brown County: 775 Mount Orab Pike, Georgetown, 378-6104.

Clermont County: 2400 Clermont Center Drive, Suite 106D, Batavia. 732-7111.

Hamilton County: 222 E. Central Parkway, Cincinnati. 946-1000. For residents south of the Little Miami River to the Ohio River only.

Lawrence County: 1100 S. Seventh St., Ironton. (614) 532-3324.

Scioto County: 710 Court St., Portsmouth. (614) 354-6661.

Hazardous item disposal

Appliance, furniture and flooring experts advise homeowners to discard most items that have had contact with floodwaters.

But what should be done with refrigerators, carpeting or other large household items too big for normal trash pickup?

Some municipal and county officials are advising residents to call their regular trash hauler.

Cincinnati residents in flooded areas can call the Public Works Department, 591-6000.

The department will add staff to field calls. It also will arrange pickups or advise about temporary drop-off sites.

Special handling is required to dispose of propane gas tanks and other items, the Clermont County Office of Environmental Quality says.

Separate tires, appliances and household hazardous waste (paints, solvents, cleaners, chemicals) from other flood waste. For fuel oil tanks, call the tank's owner, identified on the side.

Drop-off sites in Clermont County for such items have been set up. Call 732-7894 for information.

Calling for help

The Mennonite Disaster Service (MSD) is cleaning and fixing up flood-damaged houses. To ask for help, call 553-7200.

Cincinnati's Public Works Customer Service Center hot line at 591-6000 will take non-emergency flood-related questions.

Disaster victims in Ohio and Indiana should call the Cincinnati chapter of the Red Cross: (800) 255-7070 or (513) 579-3000.

Disaster victims in Kentucky should call the Red Cross at (502) 561-3633 or (502) 561-3634.

The Ohio Department of Insurance has three toll-free hot lines to help flood victims with questions or complaints: consumer services, (800) 686-1526; fraud, (800) 686-1527; senior citizens, (800) 686-1578.

Victims in need of home improvement or repair contractors can call the Better Business Bureau, Call (513) 421-3015 or (800) 471-3015.

The Clermont County General Health District will help county residents who lost birth certificates in the flood. Call 732-7499 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, or come to 2275 Bauer Road, Suite 300, Batavia.

Crisis counseling is available for Ohio residents affected by the flood. Call (614) 466-1703.