WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster aid has been authorized for New York to help families and businesses recover from the effects of Hurricane Floyd, 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 Sunday, September 19. The declaration covers damage to private property from Floyd, which began buffeting the state on September 16.
The action follows the President's emergency declaration of September 18 that released federal resources to help meet immediate critical needs and funding for state and local governments for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including requested emergency work undertaken by the federal government.
Under the declaration, Witt said affected residents and business owners are eligible to apply for federal assistance in the counties of Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester.
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 Businesses Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance. The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Witt, who designed the areas eligible for assistance following the declaration, indicated that more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated later if requested and/or warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
FEMA's Marianne C. Jackson, federal coordinator officer for New York relief operations, said residents and business owners who sustained hurricane losses in the designated counties can begin the disaster application process on September 20 by calling 1-800-462-9029. Speech and hearing impaired individuals can call 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). The toll-free numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to midnight seven days a week until further notice.