Washington, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has declared a major disaster for Indiana, opening the way for the use of federal disaster funds to help meet the recovery needs of families and businesses victimized by tornadoes, floods and other extreme weather that struck the state late last week.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA Director and Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response at the Department of Homeland Security, said the President authorized the aid immediately after receiving FEMA's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to private property from severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on July 4.
"President Bush acted quickly in ordering disaster aid for Indiana because he recognizes the devastation caused by these storms and floods," Brown said. "He has committed the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to do whatever it takes to help get all those in need back on the road to recovery as fast as possible."
After the declaration, Brown designated the following 25 counties eligible for aid to stricken residents and business owners: Adams, Allen, Benton, Blackford, Boone, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Howard, Huntington, Jasper, Jay, Kosciusko, Miami, Montgomery, Noble, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Wabash, Warren, Wells, White and Whitley.
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.
In addition, Brown said cost-shared funding will be available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that damage surveys are continuing and additional counties and assistance for state and local government agencies may be designated later based on the results of the assessments.
Tom Costello of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. Costello said affected residents and business owners 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 Saturday, July 12, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizens Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.