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 meet the recovery needs of flood-stricken families and businesses in eastern Pennsylvania.
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 assistance. The declaration covers damage to private property from severe storms and flooding that began on April 2.
After the declaration, Brown designated the following nine counties eligible for federal aid to affected residents and business owners: Bradford, Bucks, Columbia, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Wayne and Wyoming.
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 available to 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 after the assessments are completed.
Thomas Davies of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations.
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