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 to help meet the recovery needs of flood-stricken families and businesses in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President took the action under a major disaster declaration issued immediately after receiving FEMA’s analysis of the state’s request for federal assistance. The declaration covers damage to private property from severe storms and flooding that began on August 1.
Following the declaration, Brown designated the counties of Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia eligible for federal aid to affected 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 the counties are eligible to apply for federal funds on a cost-shared basis for approved hazard mitigation projects. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Thomas Davies of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Davies 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 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.