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For Immediate Release
September 4, 2004

Statement by the Press Secretary

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Florida and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by Hurricane Frances beginning on September 3, 2004, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Brevard, Indian River, Martin, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie.

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 State and eligible local governments in the State of Florida at 100 percent of the total eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures and direct Federal assistance for the first 72 hours.

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

Representing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security, named William L. Carwile, III, 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 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 be in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.



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