Washington, D.C. -- Federal disaster aid has been made available to help people and communities in south central Alaska recover from the effects of a recent winter storm, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA director and undersecretary for the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from the storm that produced high winds and freezing temperatures over the period of March 6-14.
Brown said stricken residents in the municipality of Anchorage and the boroughs of Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska-Susitna are eligible to apply for federal aid 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, who designated the areas eligible for assistance following the President's action, said federal funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities. The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks in the municipality of Anchorage and the boroughs of Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska-Susitna.
Brown 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 M. Lokey of FEMA to coordinate the federal recovery effort.
Lokey said 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 Sunday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.