Washington, DC -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today designated seven Florida counties eligible for federal disaster funds to help communities recover from the effects of Tropical Storm Gabrielle.
The action taken by FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh came immediately after President Bush declared a major disaster for the state because of damage to public property from heavy rains, tornadoes and flooding spawned by Gabrielle over the period of September 13-21.
Allbaugh said the President's declaration makes federal funds available to the state and affected local governments to pay 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the storm, and restoring damaged public facilities.
The seven counties designated for the assistance include Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Manatee, St. Johns, Sarasota and Flagler.
In addition, Allbaugh said funding will be provided to the state on a cost-share basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that additional counties may be designated for assistance later if requested and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Charles M. Butler of FEMA was named by Allbaugh to coordinate federal recovery operations. Butler said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.