Xenia, OH -- The Ohio disaster declaration was expanded today to make all categories of public assistance available to help reimburse state and local governments in Greene County for public facilities damaged by the severe storms and tornado that struck the area September 20, according to federal disaster officials.
"The decision to expand the declaration was made following a review of revised damage assessments submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Friday afternoon," FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Lou Botta said.
Affected local governments and state agencies in Greene County are eligible to apply for federal assistance to fund 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairing, restoring or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges and utilities. Disaster assistance may also be provided for damage to facilities owned by certain private non-profit organizations that operate and maintain educational, utility, emergency, medical, custodial care and other essential governmental service facilities.
To assist communities in applying for funding, Dale Shipley, State Coordinating Officer for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA), said a briefing will be scheduled in the next few days to explain in the procedures that local governments and public agencies follow when applying for federal disaster assistance.
"We know that the public assistance will play an important role in the recovery effort of Xenia and our communities in Greene County, just as the individual assistance will help tornado victims rebuild safer and better," Botta said.
President Clinton issued a major disaster declaration on September 26, which made homeowners, renters, and business owners in Greene County eligible to apply for individual assistance. More than 600 residents have called the FEMA toll-free number, 800-462-9029 or TTY 800-462-7585 to apply for a variety of state and federal disaster assistance programs. The lines are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
The initial declaration also made federal funds available the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.