Ohio Gov. Bob Taft has sent a letter to President George W. Bush requesting a major disaster declaration for 60 Ohio counties that received damage from severe winter storms that began Dec. 22, 2004, and continued through January 2005 totalling an estimated $268.5 million in damages.
“We need federal assistance to help affected Ohio families recover from this disaster,” said Gov. Taft. “We also need assistance to help local governments rebuild roads, bridges and other vital infrastructure.”
The storms caused an estimated $127.5 million in damage to local public infrastructure including: costs of emergency protective measures and repairs to rural electrical cooperatives; more than $123 million in insured losses classified as catastrophic; and an estimated $18 million in federal disaster assistance for individuals.
Gov. Taft’s letter to the President requested the Hazard Mitigation Program for all counties and:
Federal Individual Assistance and Public Assistance Programs for Athens, Belmont, Coshocton, Crawford, Delaware, Franklin, Henry, Jefferson, Logan, Morgan, Muskingum, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Washington counties;
Federal Individual AssistancePrograms for Clark and Warren counties;
Public Assistance Programs for Adams, Allen, Ashland, Auglaize, Brown, Carroll, Champaign, Clermont, Columbiana, Darke, Fairfield, Fayette, Guernsey, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Knox, Licking, Lorain, Marion, Medina, Meigs, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Morrow, Noble, Paulding, Perry, Richland, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Tuscarawas, Union, Van Wert, Wayne and Wyandot counties.
Gov. Taft’s request is based on damage assessments performed by joint teams of local officials, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). These experts estimated the scope of damage throughout impacted counties by reviewing emergency costs to local governments and surveying damage to homes and infrastructure where possible.
If this request is approved, disaster assistance loans and grants would be available to those eligible and governmental entities and qualified non-profit organizations such as rural electrical cooperatives could seek reimbursement for debris removal, emergency protective measures and public infrastructure repairs.
If unmet needs are present once a federal major disaster declaration is granted, further damage assessments in additional counties are possible.
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