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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 18, 2002

Statement by the Deputy Press Secretary

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Ohio and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and tornadoes on November 10, 2002.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Hancock, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Seneca and Van Wert.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and 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 is also available on a cost share basis for hazard mitigation measures.

Joe M. Allbaugh, Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), named Ron Sherman as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.

The Agency said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and additional assistance and counties may be added after the assessments are completed.

The Agency said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow 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. seven days a week until further notice.



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