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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 Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered Federal aid to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe winter ice and snow storms, heavy rain, flooding, tornadoes, and mud and rock slides on February 15-26, 2003.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in a 15 county area. The counties include Breathitt, Carter, Clarke, Fayette, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Martin, Owsley, Perry, and Pike.

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 also is available to the commonwealth and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for the repair or replacement of public facilities damaged by the severe winter ice and snow storms, heavy rain, flooding, tornadoes, and mud and rock slides in the counties of Anderson, Bath, Bourbon, Boyd, Bracken, Breathitt, Breckenridge, Carter, Clark, Clay, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Fleming, Floyd, Grant, Grayson, Green, Greenup, Harrison, Jessamine, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Mason, Meade, Menifee, Mercer, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Pendleton, Perry, Pike, Powell, Robertson, Rowan, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, Washington, Whitley, Wolfe, and Woodford.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-share basis for hazard mitigation measures.

Representing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael D. Brown, Acting Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security, named Gracia Szczech 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.

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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