Washington, DC -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster aid has been made available for Massachusetts to help families and businesses recover from recent floods and other extreme weather that plagued the state since early March.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Bush. The declaration covers damage to private property from severe storms and floods beginning March 5 and continuing.
Following the President's action, Allbaugh designated the counties of Essex, Middlesex and Norfolk eligible for aid to stricken residents and business owners.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include 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 provided for the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Allbaugh indicated that damage surveys are continuing and additional counties and assistance for state and local government agencies may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of the assessments. He named Louis H. Botta of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Botta said residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties 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 Wednesday, April 11 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.