WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster aid was made available today for tornado victims in the city of Hampton under a major disaster declaration issued for Virginia by President Clinton, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President's action authorizes the use of federal funds to help meet the recovery needs of city residents and business owners who sustained damage from last Saturday's tornado spawned by Tropical Storm Dennis. Witt designated the jurisdiction eligible for the aid immediately after declaration.
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 the declaration makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that other jurisdictions and additional forms of aid may be designated later based on the results of ongoing damage assessments for Dennis, which began affecting the state on August 27.
Robert J. Gunter, of FEMA's regional office in Philadelphia, was named by Witt to serve as the federal coordinating officer for the recovery. Gunter said affected residents and business owners in the city of Hampton 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 Tuesday, September 7, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET) seven days a week until further notice.