WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster aid has been made available for people in Georgia's Dooly County devastated by tornadoes and other extreme weather late last week.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said President Clinton authorized the assistance this afternoon following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The President's major disaster declaration covers damage from severe storms and tornadoes that assaulted the area on April 15.
Immediately after the President's action, Witt designated Dooly County eligible for assistance to stricken individuals and families that 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.
In addition, Witt said federal funding will be provided for the state on a cost-share basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that damage surveys are continuing and additional counties and other forms of assistance may be designated later based on the assessments.
Witt named Michael J. Polny, of FEMA's regional office in Atlanta, to coordinate the federal relief effort. Polny said affected residents and business owners in Dooly County can begin the disaster application process by calling 1-800-462-9029, or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will be available starting Wednesday, April 21, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET) seven days a week until further notice.