WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that a major disaster exists in the state of California and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the area struck by wildfires beginning on November 13, 2008, and continuing.
FEMA Administrator David Paulison said federal funding is available to affected individuals in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and Santa Barbara counties.
Assistance will include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding also is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and Santa Barbara Counties.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Paulison named Mark A. Neveau as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.
Neveau said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and additional counties may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed.? ?
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at http://www.fema.gov or 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 operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (local time)
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.