Washington, D. C. -- Federal disaster aid has been made available to help people and local governments in south central and southwestern Alaska recover from the effects of recent winter storms, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Bush. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from severe winter storms, flooding, coastal erosion and tidal surge that occurred over the period of October 23 through November 12.
Under the declaration, Allbaugh said stricken residents and business owners are eligible to apply for aid in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the Kodiak Island Borough and the Chignik Bay area, including Chignik Lake and Chignik Lagoon.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, 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 federal funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments in the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Chignik Bay area, including Chignik Lake and Chignik Lagoon, to pay 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities. The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Allbaugh indicated that additional jurisdictions may be designated for aid later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named William Lokey of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Lokey said those who sustained losses in the jurisdictions designated for aid to affected residents and business owners 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 tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.