Washington, DC - The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster funds have been made available for Delaware to help residents and communities in New Castle County recover from the effects of Tropical Storm Henri.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA Director and Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response at Homeland Security, said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration signed last night by President Bush following a review of FEMA's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from the storm that struck the state on September 15.
Immediately after the President's action, Brown designated New Castle County eligible for aid to affected individuals and families 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 funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments in the designated county to pay 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities. Federal funding also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Michael J. Hall of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Hall said affected residents and business owners in New Castle 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 Thursday, September 25, from 7 a.m. to midnight seven days a week until further notice.
Hall emphasized that affected county residents and business owners who may already have registered for assistance as result of damage from Hurricane Isabel are eligible to apply again for losses related to Tropical Storm Henri. Those who have not yet applied should report losses from both storms when they make their initial call.
Because of the high volume of calls currently being received for Isabel, Hall urged owners of commercial properties and residents with only minor losses to wait a few days before calling so those whose homes were destroyed or heavily damaged can be served first. He also advised that those with insurance coverage should contact their insurance company or agent before calling to report losses and, if necessary, to request an advance or partial payment of their settlement.
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.