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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 15, 2004

Statement by the Press Secretary

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Virginia and ordered Federal aid to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding beginning on May 24, 2004, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Lee, Russell, and Tazewell.

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 on a cost-share basis for hazard mitigation measures in the designated counties.

Representing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security, named Thomas Davies as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.

The Agency said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Commonwealth and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

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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