Washington, DC -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster aid has been authorized by President Bush for people in Florida communities left jobless because of the effects of recent winter freezes on farm crops and fisheries.
FEMA Acting Director John W. Magaw said the President's major disaster declaration issued for the state makes federal funding available specifically to supplement unemployment benefits for farm and fishing industry workers who lost jobs as a direct result of freezing weather that struck much of the state over the period of December 1 through January 25.
Immediately after the President's action, Magaw designated the following 49 counties eligible for assistance to affected workers: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union and Volusia.
Additionally, Magaw said federal funding will be provided for the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated later if requested and warranted by further evaluation of existing needs.
Michael Bolch of FEMA was named by Magaw to coordinate the federal assistance. Bolch said procedures for requesting the aid will be announced locally within the next few days.