Washington, DC -- Federal disaster aid has been made available for Louisiana to help families and businesses recover from the effects of Tropical Storm Allison, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
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 and public property from Tropical Storm Allison that began on June 5.
Following the President's action, Allbaugh designated 10 parishes eligible for aid to stricken residents and business owners. The parishes include Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, St. Martin, Terrebonne, and Vermillion.
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, Allbaugh said federal funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments in the 10 designated parishes to pay 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities. Funding also has been authorized to pay part of the cost for emergency work undertaken by the federal government at the request of the state and local governments.
Under the declaration, all parishes in the state are eligible to apply for federal funding on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Allbaugh indicated that additional parishes may be designated for disaster aid later if requested and warranted by the results of ongoing damage assessments. He named William Carwile of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Carwile said those who sustained losses in the parishes designated for aid to affected residents and business owners 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 Tuesday, June 12, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.