Washington, DC -- Federal disaster aid was made available today for people in Clinton and Essex counties affected by the recent earthquake under a major disaster declaration issued for New York State by President Bush, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the President's action authorizes the use of federal funds to help meet the recovery needs of residents and business owners who sustained property damage from the magnitude 5.3 temblor that occurred in the northeastern part of the state on April 20. Allbaugh designated the two counties eligible for the aid immediately after the declaration.
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 the declaration makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicted that more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated later if warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Marianne C. Jackson of FEMA was named by Allbaugh to serve as the federal coordinating officer for the recovery. Jackson said affected residents and business owners in Clinton and Essex 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 Friday, May 17, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.