WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Clinton has approved the use of federal disaster funds to help people in California's San Joaquin Valley farming communities left jobless as a result of last December's severe freeze.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President's major disaster declaration issued this afternoon makes federal funds available specifically to supplement unemployment compensation for farm laborers and other farm industry workers put out of work as a direct result of lost citrus and seasonal crops in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Monterey, and Tulare counties.
Witt indicated that more counties and additional forms of disaster assistance may be designated later based on the results of ongoing damage assessments. He named Michael W. Lowder, of FEMA's regional office in San Francisco, Calif. to coordinate the federal relief effort. Lowder said procedures for requesting assistance will be announced locally within the next few days.