WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal emergency aid was approved for Arkansas today to supplement recovery efforts for families in Mississippi County left homeless by the deadly tornadoes that struck the northeastern part of the state on April 16.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt made the announcement immediately after President Clinton authorized the assistance under an emergency declaration issued for the state.
Witt said the emergency declaration directs FEMA to provide temporary housing assistance in the form of mobile homes that are to be delivered to the state for use by stricken Mississippi County residents in need of alternate living quarters.
Witt, who designated the county eligible for the emergency aid following the declaration, said the action was taken based on federal and state damage surveys that showed an acute shortage of accessible rental housing in the most severely affected area. He indicated that additional designations may be made later after further evaluation of existing needs.
Graham L. Nance, of FEMA's regional office in Denton, Texas, was named by Witt to coordinate the federal emergency assistance. Nance said procedures for requesting the assistance will be announced shortly in the affected area.
Emergencies are declared by the President when essential aid is needed by state and local governments to help safeguard lives, protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe.