WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster aid was made available for Kentucky today to help families and communities recover from the effects of drenching rains that hit the state earlier this month, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Clinton this afternoon. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from severe storms and flooding that began February 18.
Immediately after the President's action, Witt designated the following ten counties eligible for aid to stricken residents and business owners: Bath, Boyd, Carter, Fleming, Greenup, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, Robertson and Rowan.
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 will be provided to pay affected local governments 75 percent of the eligible cost for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities in the counties of Boyd, Fleming, Greenup, Harrison, Lewis, Nicholas and Rowan. The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Witt indicated that additional counties may be designated for aid later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named A. Scott Wells of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Wells said residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties 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 Tuesday, February 29, 2000 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.