WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster funds were made available today to help local governments in three northeastern Alabama counties recover from the effects of a severe winter storm that hit the state beginning January 22, 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 affected local governments in the counties of Cherokee, DeKalb and Jackson are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the storm, and repairing or replacing damaged public utilities.
Witt, who designated the counties eligible for the aid following the declaration, indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Theodore A. Monette, Jr., of FEMA was named by Witt to coordinate the federal relief effort. Monette 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.