Washington, DC -- Three southern Maryland counties ripped by last Sunday?s fierce tornado have been designated for federal aid by the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under a major disaster declaration issued for the state today by President George W. Bush.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the President authorized the assistance immediately following a review of the agency?s analysis of the state?s request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to private property from the F5 tornado that ravaged the area on April 28.
"President Bush?s action today ensures that federal help will be available to those in need as quickly and efficiently as possible," Allbaugh said.
The three counties designated by Allbaugh for federal aid to tornado-stricken residents and business owners include Calvert, Charles and Dorchester.
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.
Allbaugh indicated that damage surveys are continuing and more counties and assistance for state and local government agencies may be designated later based on the results of the assessments. He named Thomas P. Davies of FEMA to coordinate the federal recovery effort.
Davies said residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin the disaster application process by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will be available starting Thursday, May 2, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.