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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 14, 2003

Statement by the Press Secretary

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of West Virginia and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by a severe winter storm, record/near-record snow, heavy rains, flooding, and landslides on February 16, 2003, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in a seven county area. The counties include Cabell, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Mingo, Roane, and Wayne.

Assistance can 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 is also available to the State and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for the repair or replacement of public facilities damaged by the severe winter storm, record/near record snow, heavy rains, flooding, and landslides in the counties of Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Jackson, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Putnam, Raleigh, Roane, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wirt and Wyoming.

In addition, assistance for emergency protective measures that were undertaken to save lives and protect public health, safety and property over a 48-hour period is available to the State and eligible local governments in the counties of Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan, Pocahontas, and Preston that experienced record/near record snowfall.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-share basis for hazard mitigation measures for the counties of Cabell, Kanawha, Lincoln, Mingo and Wayne.

Representing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael D. Brown, Acting Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security, named Louis Botta 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 counties may be added for assistance after the assessments are completed.


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