Washington, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster aid has been made available for Florida to help families and businesses in Miami-Dade County recover from the effects of a tornado that struck the area late last month.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA director and undersecretary for the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, said President Bush authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued today after a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to private property from severe storms and tornadoes that occurred on March 27.
Following the President's action, Brown designated Miami-Dade County eligible for federal aid to stricken residents that 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.
In addition, Brown said federal funding will be available for the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Justo Hernandez of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Hernandez said affected residents and business owners in Miami-Dade County 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 Saturday, April 26, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.