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For Immediate Release
September 3, 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, flooding and tornadoes associated with Tropical Depression Gaston beginning on August 30, 2004, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the independent cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond, and the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Hanover, Henrico, and Prince George.

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 for all jurisdictions in the Commonwealth.

Representing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security, named Marianne Jackson 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 more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated 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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