WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster aid was made available today for storm victims in Arizona's Maricopa County under a major disaster declaration issued for the state 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 county residents and business owners who sustained damage from severe storms, high winds and flooding that hit the area September 14-23. Witt designated the county 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 additional counties and other forms of assistance for state and local governments may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Michael W. Lowder, of FEMA's regional office in San Francisco, was named by Witt to serve as the federal coordinating officer for the recovery. Lowder said affected residents and business owners in Maricopa County 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 Saturday, October 16, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (MT) seven days a week until further notice.