WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster aid was made available to help families and businesses in four central Pennsylvania counties recover from flash floods spawned by Tropical Depression Dennis earlier this month.
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 to private property from the flooding that occurred September 6-7.
Under the declaration, Witt said affected residents and business owners are eligible to apply for federal assistance in the counties of Lycoming, Northumberland, Snyder and Union.
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 federal funds also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Witt, who designated the areas eligible for assistance following the declaration, indicated that more counties and additional forms of assistance for state and local government agencies may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Jack Schuback, of FEMA's regional office in Philadelphia, was named by Witt to coordinate the federal relief effort. Schuback said residents and business owners who sustained hurricane losses in the designated counties can begin the disaster application process on Thursday, September 23, by calling 1-800-462-9029, or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.