WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Clinton has approved the use of federal disaster funds to help local governments in six Minnesota counties recover from the effects of storms and other extreme weather that struck the northwestern part of the state earlier this year.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President's major disaster declaration issued this afternoon authorizes the payment of 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services, and restoring public facilities damaged as a result of severe ice storms, heavy rains and flooding that occurred from March 1 through May 30. Federal funds also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
The six counties designated eligible for the aid by Witt following the declaration are Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau.
Witt said the President took the action, which grants the state's appeal of an earlier request, after FEMA reported that a reinspection of the affected area found significant additional damage to road and water control systems, coupled with increased clean up costs, to warrant federal assistance.
Qilliam Powers, of FEMA's regional office in Chicago, was named by Witt to coordinate federal relief operations. Powers said procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.