The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that President Bush has ordered the release of federal disaster funds to help people and communities in Ohio recover from the effects of a recent series of winter storms.
Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA’s analysis of the state’s request for federal aid. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from severe winter storms, flooding and mudslides that occurred over the period of Dec. 22, 2004 through Feb. 1, 2005.
After the declaration, Brown designated the following 18 counties eligible for federal aid to stricken residents and business owners: Athens, Belmont, Clark, Coshocton, Crawford, Delaware, Franklin, Henry, Jefferson, Logan, Morgan, Muskingum, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Warren and Washington.
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 and affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations to pay 75 percent of the eligible costs for emergency work and the restoration of damaged facilities in the counties of Adams, Allen, Ashland, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Champaign, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Darke, Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Guernsey, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Jefferson, Knox, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Marion, Medina, Meigs, Mercer, Monroe, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Tuscarawas, Union, Van Wert, Washington, Wayne, and Wyandot.
Brown said the declaration also makes federal funds available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved hazard mitigation projects. He indicated that damage surveys are continuing and additional counties may be designated for assistance later based on the results of the assessments.
Lee Champagne of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations.
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