WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster aid has been made available for flood victims in four Iowa counties under a major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Clinton.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President ordered the assistance this afternoon after the agency reported that more than 2,500 homes in Black Hawk, Butler, Jones and Woodbury counties sustained some degree of damage from severe storms and flooding that hit the state starting July 2. The declaration follows another issued for the state earlier this year because of damage from tornadoes and floods last May.
Immediately after today's action, Witt designated the four counties eligible for federal funding to help meet the recovery needs of stricken residents and business owners.
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 if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further 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 Friday, July 23, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CT) seven days a week until further notice.