Washington, DC -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today designated the island of Hawaii eligible for federal aid to help people and communities recover from last week's flooding rains.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt took the action immediately after President Clinton declared the state of Hawaii a major disaster area because of damage to private and public property from severe storms and flooding that occurred from October 28 through November 2.
Under the declaration, Witt said flood-stricken residents in Hawaii County can apply for federal assistance that includes FEMA grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency 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, federal funds will be available to 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.
Witt indicated that damage surveys are continuing and additional counties may be designated for aid later based on the results of the assessments. He named William L. Carwile III of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Carwile said Hawaii County residents and business owners who sustained losses 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 Friday, November 10, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.