Washington, DC -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today that President Clinton has approved the use of federal disaster funds to help local governments in New York State recover from the effects of a series of severe storms that began earlier this year.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President's major disaster declaration issued this afternoon authorizes the payment of 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services and restoring public facilities damaged as a result of the storms and flooding that occurred over the period of May 3 through June 30. Federal funds also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Immediately after the declaration, Witt designated the following counties eligible for the assistance: Albany, Chenango, Herkimer, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Otsego, Tioga and Tompkins. He indicated that additional counties may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Witt said the President's action, which grants the state's appeal of a previously denied request made last May, came after FEMA confirmed that storms from the same weather pattern continued to impact the state through June and consequently caused sufficient additional damage to warrant a major disaster declaration.
Marianne C. Jackson of FEMA was named by Witt to coordinate federal relief operations. Jackson said procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.