WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster aid was made available today for tornado victims in Louisiana's Bossier and Caddo parishes under an amendment to the major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Clinton on April 9, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The amended declaration also extends coverage to damaged public property in Caddo and Claiborne parishes.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President took today's action based on an additional state request and a review of further damage assessments. "The President's action demonstrates his deep concern for the safety and welfare of the families devastated by these destructive storms," Witt said. "He acted quickly in committing the necessary federal resources, and we will work as fast as humanly possible in aiding all those in need."
The President's original declaration on April 9 covered damage to public property in Bossier Parish from severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that occurred over the period of April 3-7. Under the amended declaration, Caddo and Claiborne parishes also are eligible for federal funding to pay affected local governments 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and restoring damaged public facilities.
Additionally, individuals and families in Bossier and Caddo parishes will be able to apply for federal disaster assistance. The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, minor 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.
Affected residents and business owners in Bossier and Caddo parishes can begin the disaster application process immediately by calling 1-800-462-9029, or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CT) seven days a week until further notice.