WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster funds were made available today for North Carolina to supplement state and local response efforts to the severe winter storm that hit the state beginning January 24, 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 this afternoon following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal aid.
Under the declaration, Witt said the state and local governments in 31 counties are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal and emergency services related to the storm.
The counties designated for the assistance include Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, Northampton, Orange, Person, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Scotland, Stanly, Union, Vance, Wake and Warren.
Witt said the declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that more counties and additional forms of federal assistance may be designated later after further evaluation of the storm's effects.
Carlos N. Mitchell of FEMA was named by Witt to coordinate the federal relief effort. Mitchell said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.