Late Dec. to Early Jan. Disaster Declaration Expanded to Include Six Calif. Counties

March 18, 2005

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Santa Barbara counties have also been determined eligible for federal disaster aid to help residents recover from the severe storms, flooding, debris flows and mudslides which occurred from Dec. 27, 2004 through Jan. 11, 2005.

“After reassessing the extensive storm damages throughout Southern California, federal and state officials have concluded that homeowners, renters and businesses in six additional counties are eligible for disaster aid,” said FEMA’s David Fukutomi, federal coordinating officer.

“We welcome today’s announcement by FEMA,” said OES Director and State Coordinating Officer Henry Renteria, who requested reassessment of damages on behalf of Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger. “It is great news for homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered losses during the December 27th through January 11th storms. We remain committed to working with FEMA to ensure that all qualified Californians receive the help they are eligible for under the law.”

The only way residents can register for federal and state disaster aid is through FEMA’s toll-free number at 1-800-621-FEMA (621-3362). The number for the hearing or speech impaired is 1-800-462-7585, TTY. Operators are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

The assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses not met by insurance or other aid programs. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and businesses losses not fully compensated by insurance.

People in the newly declared counties, who suffered damage in the Dec. 27 through Jan. 11, storms have 60 days to register with FEMA. May 15, 2005 is the last day for residents in all eight declared counties, including Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

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