Washington, D.C. -- Nineteen Alabama counties were designated for federal aid by the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today to help people recover from severe storms and tornadoes that hit the state in late November.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh took the action immediately after President Bush declared a major disaster for the state because of damage to private property from the violent weather that occurred November 24-25.
The 19 counties designated by Allbaugh for assistance to stricken residents and business owners include Autauga, Blount, Butler, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Dale, DeKalb, Etowah, Fayette, Jefferson, Lamar, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Marshall, St. Clair, Talladega and Winston.
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.
Under the declaration, federal funds also will be provided to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Allbaugh indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named Charles M. Butler of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Butler said affected residents and business owners in the designated counties can begin the disaster application process by calling 1-800-621-FEMA, or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will be available starting Saturday, December 8, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.