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Insurance claims for the June 1 tornadoes are growing. The state says residents have now filed more than 8,000 insurance claims totaling $140 million in damages.
Meanwhile, residents of Hampden and Worcester counties have started applying for federal assistance, after President Obama issued a disaster declaration this week.
Federal disaster officials say they plan to open nine assistance centers in the regions of Massachusetts affected by tornadoes. The disaster recovery centers in Hampden and Worcester counties could be open as soon as Saturday and will primarily be set up to provide aid and information to residents and business owners who suffered losses.
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz says there is no limit to the total amount of assistance that will come from the federal government.
The process should be quick, Schwartz said at a press conference in Springfield.
"Although the disaster recovery centers have not opened yet, FEMA is already accepting registrations online and by telephone," Schwartz said. "People that need funds for emergency repairs of homes should start seeing inspectors in their homes within approximately three days of registering and people may start receiving checks within 10 days."
Schwartz said the Federal Emergency Management Agency expects to do about 3,000 inspections of homes and businesses that apply for funds.
With such extensive damage, Gov. Deval Patrick asked local contractors to apply for a FEMA endorsement so they can qualify for repair work.
"We are going to need all hands on deck, so we ask contractors who are licensed and qualified to please make themselves known to the recovery centers and then the recovery centers can help make those matches," Patrick said.
People should not apply for FEMA assistance until after they have filed claims with their insurance company, Schwatz said.
WFCR's Anne Mostue contributed to this report
This program aired on June 17, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.
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