WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster aid was made available for Nebraska today to supplement the recovery needs of flood-stricken residents and communities in Burt, Douglas, and Washington counties according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA Director James Lee Witt said President Clinton authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued for the state this afternoon. The declaration covers damage from severe storms and flooding that struck the area August 6-9.
Witt, who designated the three counties in eastern Nebraska eligible for aid following the declaration, said assistance for affected individuals and families 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 and affected local governments in the county to pay 75 percent of the eligible cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and restoring damaged public facilities. The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Charles E. Biggs, of FEMA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., was named by Witt to serve as the federal coordinating officer for the relief effort. Biggs said affected residents and business owners in Burt, Douglas and Washington 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, August 21, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CT) seven days a week until further notice.