Washington, DC -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster aid for Texas was ordered by President Clinton today for people and communities victimized by tornadoes that ravaged the Ft. Worth area last week.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President authorized the assistance this afternoon under a major disaster declaration requested by the state yesterday. The declaration covers damage from severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that occurred March 28-29.
Immediately after the President's action, Witt designated Tarrant County eligible for federal assistance to supplement the recovery needs of stricken residents and business owners.
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 for the state and affected local governments to pay 75 percent of the eligible cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and restoring damaged public facilities. The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Joe Bray of FEMA was named by Witt to coordinate the federal relief effort. Bray said affected residents and business owners in Tarrant 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, April 8 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.