The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 16, 2001

Statement by the Press Secretary

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Minnesota and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe winter storms, flooding, and tornadoes beginning on March 23, 2001, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Benton, Chippewa, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, St. Louis, Stevens, Wabasha, Washington, Winona, and Yellow Medicine, and the Tribal governments of Prairie Island and Upper Sioux.

Assistance can include disaster housing, grants, 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 eligible local governments in the counties of Big Stone, Carver, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Dakota, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Houston, Lac qui Parle, McLeod, Meeker, Morrison, Norman, Polk, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, St. Louis, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Washington, Wilkin, Winona, and Yellow Medicine, and the Tribal governments of Prairie Island and Upper Sioux. Assistance is available on a cost-sharing basis for the repair or replacement of public facilities damaged by the severe winter storms, flooding, and tornadoes. Federal funding is also available on a cost share basis for hazard mitigation measures.

Joe M. Allbaugh, Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), named James L. Roche 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 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 1-800-462-9029, 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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