WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ten Iowa counties ravaged by violent storms and floods were designated for federal aid today by the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under a major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Clinton.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President authorized the assistance this morning following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's expedited request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage from severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that hit the state starting May 16.
The 10 counties designated by Witt for federal aid to stricken residents and business owners include Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Harrison, Jones and Linn.
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.
Additionally, Witt said federal funds will be provided for the state on a cost-share basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that more counties and additional forms of assistance for state and local government agencies may be designated later based on the results of ongoing damage assessments.
Curtis D. Musgrave of FEMA was named by Witt to serve as the federal coordinating officer for the relief effort. Musgrave said residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties 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 Saturday, May 22, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CT) seven days a week until further notice.