Washington, DC -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has ordered the release of federal disaster funds for Virginia to aid the recovery of people devastated by the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the President authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued for the state following a review of the agency's analysis of Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore's request for additional federal assistance. The declaration covers affected individuals, families, businesses and local governments in Arlington County and follows the President's emergency declaration issued last week to support immediate response operations.
Allbaugh said the assistance made available under today's declaration can include funds to help meet housing needs, grants for medical, funeral and other serious disaster-related expenses, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance or other federal aid programs. Unemployment assistance and funding for crisis counseling services also will be available under the declaration.
In addition, Allbaugh said federal funds will be provided to the state and affected local governments to pay 100 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal and emergency services related to the explosion and fires. The state also is eligible to apply for federal funds on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Allbaugh indicated that other jurisdictions and additional assistance for state and local government agencies may be designated later based on further assessments. He named Thomas Davies of FEMA to coordinate federal recovery operations in the affected area.
Davies said help with funeral expenses, medical costs, counseling, lost wages and loss of financial support is available to victims of the attack and their family members through the Terrorism Victims Hotline. Affected Virginia and out-of-state residents can access the assistance by calling 1-866-827-3543. The telephone service will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
Additionally, Davies said residents of Virginia and surrounding states who lost jobs as a result of the crime can apply for benefits through their state employment agencies.