President Bush issued a federal disaster declaration May 1 for three Texas counties hit hard by tornadoes and severe storms recently.
Seven people died and as many as 200 families were left homeless in Maverick County on the Texas-Mexico border when a tornado struck April 24. Storms also hit Swisher and Moore counties in the Texas Panhandle during the span of April 21-24.
“As I saw firsthand, the citizens and community of Eagle Pass and the surrounding area have been a dealt a very tough blow. At times like this, it is critical that every level of government comes together to help folks recover and rebuild,” U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said in a statement. “Securing this federal disaster assistance is a very important and needed step forward in recovery for these areas.”
Cornyn and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, both Texas Republicans, asked Bush for the disaster declaration.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said damage surveys are under way in other areas, and additional counties may be added to the declaration.
The White House said the declaration includes the possibility of grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans for uninsured property losses and other programs to help in the recovery. The declaration also allows for public assistance for state and local governments.
FEMA said affected residents and business owners could begin applying for help May 2 by either registering online at http://www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired.
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