WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has ordered the release of federal disaster funds for Michigan to help families and businesses recover from the effects of recent severe storms.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President took the action under a major disaster declaration signed last night following a review of 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 occurred over the period of May 20-24.
Immediately after the declaration, Brown designated the following 19 counties eligible for federal aid to affected residents and business owners: Barry, Berrien, Cass, Genesee, Gladwin, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Mecosta, Oakland, Ottawa, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair, St. Joseph and Wayne.
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 federal funds will be provided for local governments on a cost-shared basis for approved hazard mitigation projects in the counties of Arenac, Barry, Berrien, Cass, Genesee, Gladwin, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Mecosta, Newaygo, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Van Buren and Wayne.
Brown indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named Marianne Jackson of FEMA to coordinate federal recovery operations.
Jackson said that those in the counties 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.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.