WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster resources have been made available for people and communities in hurricane-battered Texas under a major disaster declaration issued for the state this evening by President Clinton, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President took the action after the agency submitted an analysis of the state's expedited request for federal relief as a result of Hurricane Bret, which made landfall late this afternoon in an area south of Corpus Christi.
"The President is extremely concerned about the immediate safety and welfare of the families that stood in the path of this powerful storm," Witt said. "He has ordered the federal family to respond with all necessary resources for sustaining life. We have the manpower, materials and supplies ready to ensure that critical needs are met as fast as possible."
Under the declaration, Witt said assistance to support immediate response efforts can range from the use of federal personnel, equipment and lifesaving systems to the delivery of power generators, plastic sheeting, tents, cots, food, water, medicine and other essential emergency materials and supplies to help meet basic human needs.
In addition, federal funds will be available to pay the state and affected local governments part of the eligible costs for debris removal and emergency services related to the hurricane in the counties of Aransas, Cameron, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces, San Patricio and Willacy. Funding also will be provided for the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Witt, who designated the counties eligible for federal aid following the declaration, said more counties and additional forms of assistance for the long-term recovery may be designated later once damage can be assessed in the stricken area. He named Brad Gair of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.