WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced yesterday that President Clinton has approved the use of federal disaster funds for Missouri to help people recover from the effects of flooding that struck state earlier this year.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President's major disaster declaration issued late yesterday afternoon authorizes the agency to provide assistance to stricken residents and business owners in the counties of Jackson and St. Louis and the independent city of St. Louis. The declaration covers damage from severe storms and flooding that occurred over the period of July 10-31.
The aid, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing needs, emergency 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.
Witt, who designated the jurisdictions eligible for the assistance following the declaration, said federal funds also will be available to the state on a cost-share basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
The President's action grants an appeal of a prior ruling after FEMA reported that recent damage surveys requested by the state of other affected areas uncovered sufficient additional losses to support the need for federal aid.
Curtis D. Musgrave, of FEMA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., was named by Witt to coordinate federal relief operations in the stricken area. Musgrave said affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process today, October 20, by calling 1-800-462-9029, or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone service will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CT) seven days a week until further notice.