Little Rock, AR -- President George W. Bush today announced that he has given approval to increasing the federal share of public assistance for debris removal from 75 to 100 percent. The increase relieves the state of Arkansas of about $20 million in debris removal expenses.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as of February 28, has obligated $35.8 million in disaster assistance to Arkansas under the Public Assistance Program. The program gets financial help quickly to local and county governments and some non-profit agencies covered under a Presidential disaster declaration. The funds are distributed by the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM).
Other totals, as of the close of business February 28, 2001:
- FEMA has issued $8,763,623 in disaster housing assistance checks to 9,858 residents. These are grants to assist individuals and families whose primary residences were damaged or destroyed by the December ice storms.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved 730 loans for homeowners, renters and businesses totaling $4,733,200.
- State disaster relief officials have approved payment of 1,543 checks totaling $1,473,467 to help people meet serious disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by other disaster assistance programs or insurance. This program is funded 75 percent by FEMA and 25 percent by the state.
- The Arkansas Department of Employment Security has approved disaster unemployment claims totaling $240,936 to 705 applicants.
- FEMA has received 39,900 individual applications for disaster assistance.
Individuals, families and businesses can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-525-0321 if they have questions about their applications. For the speech and hearing impaired, the number is 800-462-7585. The Helpline is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.