The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Friday that President Bush has ordered the release of federal disaster funds for Indiana to help families and businesses recover from the effects of recent winter storms.
Michael Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President took the action under a major disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA’s analysis of the state’s request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to private property from the storms and flooding that began on Jan. 1.
Immediately after the declaration, Brown designated the following 62 counties eligible for federal aid to affected residents and business owners: Bartholomew, Benton, Blackford, Boone, Brown, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Daviess, Decatur, Delaware, Dubois, Floyd, Fountain, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Huntington, Jackson, Jay, Jennings, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Martin, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Orange, Owen, Parke, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Randolph, Rush, Scott, Shelby, Sullivan, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Wabash, Warren, Warrick, Washington, Wells and White.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
In addition, Brown said federal funds will be provided for the state on a cost-shared basis for approved hazard mitigation projects. He indicated that damage surveys are continuing and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated later based on the results of the assessments.
Ron Sherman of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Sherman said that affected residents and business owners in the designated counties can begin the disaster application process by registering online at www.fema.gov 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 be available starting tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
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